The 100-plus degree heat and the rainfall shortage this month has caused drought conditions so bad that they usually DON'T OCCUR MORE THAN ONCE A CENTURY. The drought in 70 of Georgia's 159 counties — almost half — has now been classified as "exceptional." In an "exceptional" drought, the affected regions experience widespread crop losses, and the water level in reservoirs, streams and wells drop so low that it creates a water emergency. These conditions are RARE. The drought has spared only four Georgia counties - all of which received plentiful rain from Tropical Storm Barry. 40 other counties are in an "extreme" drought. That happens ONCE IN 50 YEARS and also causes crop loss and water shortage, although not as severe as in an "exceptional" drought. The state's rainfall total for the year is 17.51 inches. That's almost half of normal. Add to that the temperature - August has seen nine days when the temperature climbed to 100 degrees or more in metro Atlanta, making it the HOTTEST MONTH SINCE THE WEATHER SERVICE BEGAN KEEPING RECORDS.
HEATWAVE/ DROUGHT IN S.E. UNITED STATESALABAMA - The U.S. Drought Monitor labeled 73 percent of Alabama "exceptional" for its lack of rainfall. Alabama has become significantly drier since Aug. 7, when 52 percent of the state was labeled exceptionally dry. Every county in Alabama has some degree of drought or abnormal dryness. "Not only have our farmers been suffering through the highest level of drought in the entire United States, but now we are experiencing RECORD-BREAKING TEMPERATURES that may cause even more losses."
KENTUCKY - Baking under another RECORD-BREAKING HEAT WAVE, customers of Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities Co. were being asked for the first time this year to conserve electricity. The request for area residents to temporarily turn off their air conditioners, dishwashers and other appliances comes as near 100-degree heat continues to drive record levels of energy consumption. Thursday the mercury climbed to 99, breaking the record set in 1959 of 98 degrees. Records have been dropping like beads of sweat since the heat wave started July 30. The record string of consecutive days with 90-degree heat or more was broken last Monday when the city experienced its 22nd consecutive day. The streak ended Tuesday, the 14th, when the high was only 88. The previous record of 21 straight days had been set three times: August of 1900, July of 1901 and August of 1936.
TENNESSEE - Thursday’s 99-degree heat eclipsed the day’s Tri-Cities RECORD of 94 degrees set in 1968. Relief from the RECORD-BREAKING TEMPERATURES isn’t expected until today, when meteorologists forecast a 40 percent chance of rain and temperatures in the upper 80s.