OGLETHORPE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A major drought has taken middle Georgia by storm.
"Drought works on a scale and it starts as abnormally dry, and then you have moderate drought, severe drought, exceptional drought . . . you can tell as I go along that these categories are getting worse and worse," said 41NBC Daybreak meteorologist Samantha Smith. "The worst being exceptional drought, and right now 15 counties, at least parts of those counties, are under an exceptional drought. "That's in the 41NBC forecast region alone. Statewide it's 26% — over a quarter of the state is under exceptional drought."
Macon County Extension Agent Jeremy Kichler says the drought is giving middle Georgia farmers major problems.
"The drought has really started to hurt my dry land growers, because with the erratic rainfall patterns, we have very short windows to get crops in with dry land production."
Farmer Donald Chase says the recent showers haven't helped much.
"This year we've had some showers — just this past Sunday. But it's still very dry. There's very little sub-moisture, so from our irrigation point of view, we're really not stopping. We're just irrigating on through the showers, because we can't afford to get behind."
If the drought doesn't let up soon, some middle Georgia farmers might be forced out of the business.
"Dry land growers are putting in more irrigation; they're investing a lot of money in irrigation right now. And if the drought patterns keep on continuing, then farmers who want to stay in business are going to have to go to more irrigative production."
Our meteorologists here at 41NBC, Samantha and Michael, say the drought across middle Georgia is expected to continue throughout the summer.
For the most up-to-date version of the weekly drought monitor, be sure to like Samantha on Facebook here.