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Understanding & Curbing the Effects of Drought

October 10, 2012
A farmer holds out leaves dried by a drought.

As the cool, crisp season of fall settles across the state with its vibrant color collages, it’s hard to reminisce over a summer filled with images of drought across the United States. Pictures of damaged crops and withering fields flashed across our television screens, as many people wondered, “What is a drought?” or “When will it end?” Our office regularly addresses those valid questions from Georgia residents.

A drought refers to an extended period of time when there is very little moisture or rainfall. This period of time can often last for a season or more and cause water shortages. These water shortages can affect vegetation, animals, people and businesses. As serious as droughts are though, they are actually a normal, recurrent part of climate that can happen in virtually any climate zone.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, which provides a general summary of current drought conditions, shows abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions across parts of north and central Georgia. Areas of southern Georgia received welcome rainfall late spring and summer that helped improve their dry conditions.

So will things get better across Georgia in the coming months? The drought outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for the drought to be ongoing with some improvement possible over the next few months.

If you’re like me, you want to know what you can do to help. One of the best things to do is practice water conservation in your own homes and communities. Every little bit helps!

To learn more about the drought, listen to Deputy State Climatologist Nyasha Dunkley speak with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Deputy State Climatologist Nyasha Dunkley

About the Author

Nyasha Dunkley is the state's Deputy State Climatologist. She has worked for the Environmental Protection Division since 2002 as a Meteorologist and Air Quality Forecaster within the Air Protection Branch. In that capacity, she analyzes meteorological surface and upper air data, numerical weather models, satellite imagery and radar to prepare air quality forecasts for cities across the state.

She is a graduate of Georgia Tech with an M.S. degree in Earth & Atmospheric Science and Oakwood University with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Physics. Her previous work at CNN and NASA Langley Research Center demonstrated her ability to effectively communicate difficult scientific concepts in a simple manner.

Nyasha is also an adjunct professor teaching at Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College. 

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