20 Ga. Counties in Extreme Drought

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The state climatologist said Tuesday that drought conditions have worsened from severe to extreme in 20 southern Georgia counties.

David Stooksbury says some parts of south Georgia have rainfall deficits of more than ten inches of the eyar. He says rivers and streams in the region are showing record-low flows for April.

Stooksbury says summer tends to bring less rain than spring, and the drought could grow worse in coming months.

He says conditions will continue to deteriorate if Georgia has normal weather for the remainder of the spring through the summer.

Extreme drought means conditions are so dry that experts anticipate them no more than once every 50 years. The last time parts of Georgia saw such conditions was during the drought that lasted from 1998 to 2002.

The area of extreme drought includes Ware County, where a huge wildfire has burned more than 56-thousand acres of tinder-dry forest near Waycross over the past nine days.

Brian Fuchs is a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He says drought conditions are being felt across 41 percent of the southeastern United States -- mostly in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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