Recent heavy rain eases drought conditions

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Widespread heavy precipitation pounded almost the entire dry area from northern Louisiana northeastward through much of the Southeast and into the western Carolinas and southwestern Virginia.

At least 2 inches fell on most locations, with the exception of scattered parts of the central Carolinas and southwestern Tennessee.

Between 4 and 8 inches doused broad sections of southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, and from southeastern Texas through much of Mississippi and Alabama and into northwestern Georgia.

Since late December, 10 to locally over 15 inches of precipitation pelted the southern half of Alabama, southernmost Mississippi, central and southwestern Georgia, and scattered locations across southeastern Texas and southern Louisiana.

Most areas of dryness and drought notched a 1-category improvement, except for a few relatively isolated patches that missed the heavy precipitation. Amounts were sufficient to bring 2-category improvements into a few areas, including parts of central Mississippi and the adjacent lower Mississippi Valley, and throughout the former D1 area in south-central Georgia, where no dryness is now noted.

Still, despite 4 to 8 inches of precipitation in the core drought area (now D2 to locally D3) of the upper Southeast over the last 30 days, precipitation amounts are at least slightly below normal for the last 90 days, and for the past year totals remain more than a foot below normal in part of northeast Mississippi and surrounds, and across a broad swath from northern Alabama northeastward into the western Carolinas.

To the south, light to moderate precipitation (up to 1.5 inches) fell across the D0 region of Peninsular Florida, keeping conditions unchanged.

Persistently above normal temperatures have accompanied the dryness, with temperatures averaging 4 to locally 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal since late November.