Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fay The Drought-buster

Back when Tropical Storm Fay was still in the Caribbean, we speculated that it could bring much-needed drought relief to parched areas of the Southeast, based on a forecast track that would have taken it straight across Florida and up through Georgia.

Fay ended up taking a much more convoluted path, but it has turned out to be a real drought-buster. We'll have the hard data when the U.S. Drought Monitor releases its latest map on Thursday morning, but with rainfall totals in much of Florida, Georgia and the mountain areas of North and South Carolina in the multiple inches (the map above is for the past 24 hours), Fay is bringing some relief.

Of course, it comes at a steep price with all the flooding in Florida. And, it's not the kind of rain that helps farmers. The Drought Monitor distinguishes between an agricultural drought and a hydrological drought. A lot of rain in a short time will raise river and stream levels, fill reservoirs, ponds and lakes, and replenish the water table, thus taking care of the hydrological side of things.

But for farmers, too much rain is as bad as too little, and one after the other just makes the disaster complete. A decidedly mixed bag, but for municipal water systems throughout the Southeast, Fay's remnants will be a godsend.

1 comment:

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