Area dodges drought

Published 12:46 am Monday, November 5, 2007

VIDALIA — Though much of the southeast — including much of northwest Louisiana and some of east Mississippi — is considered to be under drought conditions, the Miss-Lou is not.

While the U.S. Drought Monitor shows western and eastern states as being under severe, extreme and even exceptional droughts — Georgia declared a state of emergency because of arid conditions Oct. 20 — the Miss-Lou has had enough recent rain to avoid those travails, Louisiana State Climatologist Barry Keim said.

There are three kinds of drought: meteorological drought, agricultural drought and hydrological drought.

Email newsletter signup

Meteorological drought is when there is no rain, agricultural drought is when there is not enough moisture in the soil and hydrological drought occurs when the water table falls beyond a certain point.

“A lot of that can disappear in a heartbeat if you get the right kind of storm system,” Keim said. “Once you get two to four inches of rainfall that can take care of meteorological drought and agricultural drought.”

For the year to date, though, the Miss-Lou is behind on its average rainfall, Keim said.

“The total rainfall accumulated for that area is 34 inches, whereas for this time of year it should be around 50 inches,” he said. “While recent rains have made many of the drought issues go away, there are still some long term drought issues that have to be addressed, mainly in the water table.”

The regional dry-spell is being caused by a preponderance of high pressure that is essentially parked over the southeast, Keim said.

“It steered a lot of hurricanes away from us, but it also kept away a lot of rains,” he said.

Developing La Niña conditions — a weather phenomenon in which cooler sea water affects the weather by creating warmer and than usual winters and drier conditions in the southern half of the United States — could also come into play later this year, Keim said.

“If this La Niña continues to unfold, the gulf coast can anticipate drier than normal conditions for winter,” he said.

Sept. 16 was the last time a part of the Miss-Lou — eastern Adams County — was considered to be in drought.