Severe drought expands in Georgia

In this article with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Joel Twist, assistant district manager for Davey's Atlanta office, tells readers about the impact drought has on their trees. 

Posted: June 23, 2016

By Lauren Foreman

A severe drought that started to impact metro Atlanta earlier this month has now expanded across more metro areas and east Georgia.

“The longer we go without rain, the bigger that area is going to get,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said.

By June 16, metro Atlanta had entered a severe drought that also reached northwest areas including Calhoun, Rome and Blairsville. But areas northeast of Atlanta were spared from more severe conditions.

Well, now cities including Gainesville and Athens also earned a severe drought designation from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Little substantial rainfall is partly to blame.

Georgia has gotten 1.85 inches less rain than it usually gets at this point of the year, meteorologists said. And water levels at Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s main water source, have been slowly decreasing.

When the lake is full, water stands at 1,071 feet. Water was about 3 feet short of full at 1068.19 feet June 17 and was 1067.89 feet tall Thursday, the Weather Service reported.

Now that’s not cause for panic or even state-mandated watering restrictions— the state has its own process for determining when to declare a drought — but residents should have a plan.

When it does rain, trees affected by dry conditions for long periods of time are more likely to break and uproot during storms. Arborist Joel Twist said although northwest mountain regions are experiencing the drought, it has a greater impact on plants in metro areas.

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