Farmers in Alabama, Georgia and most of Florida can expect to receive substantial amount of rainfall over the next few weeks, said Pam Knox, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agricultural Climatologist. It should help alleviate some of the drought-like conditions that are being experienced in all three states.
“I looked at the forecast for the next two weeks and it does show that most of (Georgia) is supposed to get at least a couple of inches in the next two weeks; not necessarily the next couple of days but next weekend and beyond. I think it’s shifting towards a rainier pattern but it’s still going to be hot,” Knox said.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the bulk of Georgia is classified as abnormally dry with some counties in the southeast part of the state moderately dry. Knox was disappointed that portion of Georgia did not receive more rainfall than it did from the tropical system Isaias.
“I was a little disappointed that we really didn’t get much rain from Isaias. It was far enough to the east that it rained right along the coast. I was hoping it would be a little bit more inland because some of those areas are so dry in Southeast Georgia. It didn’t happen this time,” Knox said.
In Alabama, most of the counties in the eastern part of the state are abnormally dry, though Henry County is abnormally-to-moderately dry. In Florida, counties along the western part of the state, from Hillsborough County to Collier County, are abnormally dry.
“I think the one exception is the west coast of Florida which looked like could be a little drier,” Knox said.
August Important Time for Rainfall
August is an important time in the growing season for row crop farmers, especially those who grow peanuts and cotton.
“A lot of the plants this time of year need a fair amount of water; not so much corn, I think it’s mostly done. But other plants like cotton and peanuts need water. They’ve got to have it regularly. If you don’t have irrigation, you’re stuck with whatever rain falls,” Knox said.
August can also be the time when droughts begin and hurt the progress of those plants, however.
“It’s quite variable. Partly, it depends on the tropics, partly it just depends on whether we have high pressure. Some years we don’t get much. You can remember the last few years; we’ve had some Augusts where it’s been pretty dry, and we go into a drought in September. I think 2016 was one example; 2019 last year was another,” Knox said.
The peak season for tropical system development is late-August to late-October.
“In the summer in Georgia, I would say up to 40% of our summer rain can come from tropical systems. They don’t necessarily have to be named storms but just waves that come through and bring us some rain,” Knox said.