Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Regional Drought Update Date
December 16, 2020
Site Section
Drought Status Update

Drought Conditions from the ACF River Basin Drought and Water Webinar


DEWS Regions:
States:

The ACF Basin is drought-free according to the most current U.S. Drought Monitor (as of December 8, 2020). 

Our next briefing is on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 1pm ET.

ACF Climate Conditions and Outlooks

  • Florida and the Southeast in the midst of a sharp warming trend over the last 5+ years, especially with nighttime temperatures.
  • Record heat in Fall of 2020 and year-to-date for much of Florida, coastal Carolinas
  • Abnormally dry conditions persist over eastern Georgia, other patches developing over south Alabama and north Florida
  • Some dryness over the middle and lower ACF at 30-60 days, most of the basin above normal at 90 days
  • Active pattern to bring more rainfall to the lower ACF in the next couple of days, lesser amounts to the north
  • ”La Niña Advisory” now issued by NOAA, 100% chance of continuing through winter
  • CPC seasonal forecast favors above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall
  • Drought could develop in late winter/spring as the La Niña winter plays out
  • Alabama Office of Water Resources states no reported water availability issues, no changes to AL Drought Declaration since 9/1/2020, areas of below normal precipitation since 10/1/2020 in southern 1/3 of AL.
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions: ACF River Basin

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the ACF River Basin with data valid for December 8, 2020. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. Drought categories show experts’ assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought including observations of how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year.

According to the most recent USDM:

  • 0% of the ACF Basin is in drought
  • 18.78% of ACF Basin is in D0 (Abnormally Dry)

U.S. Drought Monitor Categories

The color with the hex code #ffff00 identifies:
D0 - Abnormally Dry
The color with the hex code #ffcc99 identifies:
D1 - Moderate Drought
The color with the hex code #ff6600 identifies:
D2 - Severe Drought
The color with the hex code #ff0000 identifies:
D3 - Extreme Drought
The color with the hex code #660000 identifies:
D4 - Exceptional Drought
Source(s):

NDMCNOAAUSDA

Last Updated  -  12/10/2020
Main Stats
0%
of the ACF River Basin is in drought
18.78%
of the ACF River Basin is in D0 (Abnormally Dry)
La Niña Advisory
issued by NOAA. 100% chance of continuing through winter.

Real-Time Streamflow & Forecasts

  • Real-time streamflow in the ACF basin are currently in the high to below normal range.
  • The ACF basin is currently ranked as normal flow for the 7-day average streamflow.
  • 28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River are currently in the above normal range.
  • 28-day average streamflow for the Flint River are currently in the normal to above normal range.
  • Real-time groundwater levels across the ACF basin range from much above normal to much below normal, with most stations ranked in the normal range.
  • SERFC 10-day streamflow forecast - no large flow events expected
  • SERFC 1 month streamflow forecast - near normal
  • SERFC 3 month streamflow forecast - near normal

ACF Basin Reservoir Conditions

  • Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal.
  • Lanier, West Point, and W.F. George are transitioning to winter guide curve elevations, projects are operating slightly above winter pool elevations
  • The ACF system conservation storage is in Zone 1 and is forecasted to stay in Zone 1 for the next few weeks.

Lawn and Garden Moisture Index

December 14 Lawn and Garden Moisture Index map from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. There is dryness in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.
December 14, 2020's Lawn and Garden Index from the University of Alabama at Huntsville displays some dryness in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.

7-Day Rainfall Totals

NOAA Map showing total rainfall over the past 7 days in the Southeast. The past 7 days, most of the ACF Basin has been relatively dry (less than 1 inch).
The past 7 days, most of the ACF Basin has been relatively dry (less than 1 inch).

30-Day Rainfall Departures

NOAA map of the Southeast showing 30-day departure from normal rainfall. The past 30 days, rainfall totals have been lower in the lower ACF with totals of ½ - 3 inches; with higher amounts in middle and upper ACF of 5-6 inches.

The past 30 days, rainfall totals have been lower in the lower ACF with totals of ½ - 3 inches; with higher amounts in middle and upper ACF of 5-6 inches.sure

NOAA Seasonal Outlook (Dec - Feb)

The NOAA 3-month Seasonal Outlook (Dec.-Feb.) predicts a strong chance of above-normal temperatures for the entire southern US as well as an increased chance of below normal rainfall in all of AL, GA, and FL.
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's 3-month seasonal outlooks (Dec.-Feb.) predict a strong chance of above-normal temperatures for the entire southern US as well as an increased chance of below normal rainfall in all of AL, GA, and FL.

Real-time Streamflow

U.S. Geological Survey real-time streamflow maps of the Southeast for November 23, 2020 (left) and December 15, 2020 (right). treamflow in the ACF basin are currently in the high to below normal range, with the majority of locations in the normal range.
Streamflow in the ACF basin are currently in the high to below normal range, with the majority of locations in the normal range. Source: USGS WaterWatch.

Flint River at Albany

28-Day Average Streamflows

28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River are in the above normal range, 28-day average streamflow for the Flint River are in the normal to above normal range, and the Apalachicola River flows are in the normal range.
28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River are in the above normal range, 28-day average streamflow for the Flint River are in the normal to above normal range, and the Apalachicola River flows are in the normal range. For more information, visit USGS WaterWatch.

Real-Time Groundwater Conditions

Real-time groundwater levels across the ACF basin range from much above normal to much below normal, with most stations in the normal range.
Real-time groundwater levels across the ACF basin range from much above normal to much below normal, with most stations in the normal range. Source: USGS WaterWatch.

ACF Reservoir Conditions: December 4, 2020

Graph of 2020 ACF Basin composite conservation and flood storage. Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal with Lanier, West Point, and W.F. George transitioning to winter guide curve elevations. The ACF Basin Composite Conservation and Flood Storage is in Zone 1 and is expected to remain in Zone 1 over the next few weeks.
Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal with Lanier, West Point, and W.F. George transitioning to winter guide curve elevations. The ACF Basin Composite Conservation and Flood Storage is in Zone 1 and is expected to remain in Zone 1 over the next few weeks.

1-Month & 3-Month Mean Daily Streamflow Forecasts

The 1-month mean daily streamflow forecast for the Apalachicola Watershed predicts near normal flow conditions.
The 1-month mean daily streamflow forecast predicts near normal flow conditions.
The 3-month mean daily streamflow forecast predicts near normal flows in the winter season throughout the ACF basin.
The 3-month mean daily streamflow forecast predicts near normal flows in the winter season throughout the ACF basin.

Acknowledgments 

Speakers:

David Zierden, FSU

Tom Littlepage, ADECA OWR

Paul Ankcorn, USGS

Troy Ephriam, USACE-Mobile District

Jeff Dobur, SERFC

Summary Prepared By:

Rachel McGuire, Auburn University 

Resources

General Drought Information:

http://www.drought.gov

http://www.drought.unl.edu

http://adeca.alabama.gov/Divisions/owr

Drought Impact Reporter:

https://droughtreporter.unl.edu/map/

Southeast Climate Perspectives Map:

https://sercc.com/perspectivesmap?region=sercc

General Climate and El Niño Information:

http://agroclimate.org/climate

Streamflow Monitoring & Forecasting:

http://waterwatch.usgs.gov

https://www.weather.gov/serfc/

Groundwater Monitoring:

http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov

The Complete Set of Briefing Slides From the ACF River Basin Drought Webinar:

https://aaes.auburn.edu/wrc/extension-outreach/droughtwebinar/  

Additional Information from the Southeast River Forecast Center:

https://www.weather.gov/serfc/

 

To join the ACF mailing list or for webinar-related questions, please contact: 

Rachel McGuire
rem@auburn.edu