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From the shriveled cotton fields of northern Alabama to the browned lawns of suburban Atlanta, the Southeast is wilting under one of the most severe droughts in its history.

In Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida, there has been less rain than at any time since records began in 1894.

But the one in the Southeast is exceptional. Large swaths of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas are rated D4, the National Drought Mitigation Center's highest possible level of drought intensity.

"It is truly a historic drought, one of the worst in a hundred years," said Douglas LeComte, a senior meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "And its going to get worse before it gets better."

Southeast sees no end to historic drought

In the best-case scenario, the lake metro Atlanta's main water source will fall another 9 feet, setting a new record low at 20 feet below its full level. At that point, every public boat ramp and dock, and nearly every private dock, will be high and dry.

In the worst case, the lake will drop another 20 feet, leaving just 4 feet of water storage and threatening the region's water supply. Whether metro Atlanta could continue drawing water out of the lake and the Chattahoochee River it feeds is anybody's guess right now.

Lake Lanier sinking to a 50-year low?

Georgia EPD
Map of below normal 7-day average streamflow

Atlanta's lakes dropping fast
Lake Lanier has three months of water storage left
Atlanta Water Fines Could Hit $1,000
Ga. Drought Forces Centennial Park Fountain to Dry Out
Don't wait 'til well runs dry
North Georgia hit with unprecedented water restrictions

Posted: 2007-10-12 11:08:49

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