Despite rain, drought severe

Published 12:23 am Saturday, April 21, 2012

Covington County is currently experiencing a severe to extreme drought throughout the county.

One would never guess it with the amount of rainfall seen locally over the last couple of weeks, but Covington County is in the middle of an extreme/severe drought.

Statistics from the U.S. Drought Monitor show the county is split nearly evenly with the northern portion experiencing an extreme drought, while the southern half, a severe drought.

Dr. John Christy, state climatologist, said Friday the information used for drought designations generally relates to two things.

“First is the deficit in precipitation over certain periods like 30, 60, 90 and 180 days and secondly, the streamflow percentile rankings,” he said. As he explained the process, the

National Weather Service reports show Covington County has received between 2 to 6 inches of rainfall within the last 60 days.

Christy said the map showed the area is down below 50 percent of normal rainfall totals, which means very dry, and that 10.5 inches of rainfall is needed to end the drought.

“Also, the distribution of rain is not uniform, so any given county can have wet and dry periods,” he said. “A good example is right now, which explains why part of the county is drier than the other.”

There’s a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms this afternoon; however, the chance of rain disappears until Friday, where there is a 30 percent chance of rain forecasted.

According to data collected by the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow River Watershed Management Authority, the county has received only 1.4 inches of rain thus far this month at the Yellow River collection point. It has also collected 14.4 inches this year.