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Regional Drought Update Date
January 27, 2021
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Drought Status Update

Drought Conditions from the ACF River Basin Drought and Water Webinar


DEWS Regions:
States:

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin is drought-free according to the U.S. Drought Monitor (as of January 26, 2021). View the latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Register here for the next monthly ACF Drought and Water Monthly Webinar on February 23, 2021, at 1-2 pm EST.

ACF Climate Conditions and Outlooks

  • 2020 was very warm and wet for most of the Southeast U.S.
  • December 2020 was the first colder than normal month in Florida in nearly three years.
  • Temperatures have been slightly warmer than normal over the last 30 days.
  • There are small pockets of “abnormally dry” (D0) conditions over north Florida, Georgia, and Alabama according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • Rainfall deficits are  starting to build across most of the ACF at 30 to 90 days.
  • A ”La Nina Advisory” has been issued by NOAA, with a 100% chance of continuing through winter and a 65% chance of continuing through spring.
  • The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal forecast favors above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall.
  • Negative Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation overwhelmed typical La Nina impacts in December and January.
  • Drought development is a risk in the spring as La Nina plays out, especially in the lower ACF.
  • The Alabama Office of Water Resources states no reported water availability issues and no changes to the Alabama Drought Declaration since 9/1/2020. Areas of abnormally dry (D0) have risen from 5% to 23% of the state in the past week (as of January 19, 2021).
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions: Southeast | January 26, 2021

Current U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) map for the ACF River Basin with data valid for January 26, 2021. The 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. Learn more.

According to the most recent USDM, 0% of the ACF River Basin is in drought.

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):

NDMC, NOAA, USDA

Last Updated  -  01/26/21
Main Stats
25.01%
of Alabama is experiencing Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions
15.19%
of Georgia is experiencing Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions
21.04%
of Florida is experiencing Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions

Real-Time Streamflow & Forecasts

  • Real-time streamflows in the ACF basin are currently in the high to much below normal range.
  • The upper Flint River basin is currently ranked as moderate hydrologic drought for the 7-day average streamflow.
  • The 28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River is currently in the above normal to normal range.
  • The 28-day average streamflow for the Flint River is currently in the normal range.
  • Real-time groundwater levels across the ACF basin range from above normal to low, with most stations ranked in the normal range.
  • Flooding is not anticipated in the short-term in the ACF.
  • The National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center's 1-month streamflow forecast: near normal, with above-normal flows on the far upper Chattahoochee.
  • The Southeast River Forecast Center's 3-month streamflow forecast: near normal.

ACF Basin Reservoir Conditions

  • Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal.
  • Currently, projects are operating slightly above/right at 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

Lawn and Garden Index from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, valid January 25, 2021. Shows some dryness in northern Alabama and Georgia as well as peninsular Florida, creeping into some coastal edges of the Florida panhandle.
January 25, 2020's Lawn and Garden Index from the University of Alabama at Huntsville displays some dryness in northern Alabama and Georgia as well as peninsular Florida, creeping into some coastal edges of the Florida panhandle.

Rainfall Totals and Departures

7-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA Map showing total rainfall over the past 7 days in the Southeast. The past 7 days, most of the ACF Basin has received between 1-2 inches of rainfall.
The past 7 days, most of the ACF Basin has received between 1-2 inches of rainfall.

30-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA map of the Southeast showing 30-day precipitation totals. The past 30 days, the majority of the ACF has received 4 inches of rainfall or less with the exception of parts of SW GA and the FL panhandle.
The past 30 days, the majority of the ACF has received 4 inches of rainfall or less, with the exception of parts of Southwest Georgia and the Florida panhandle.

90-Day Precipitation Departures

NOAA map of the Southeast showing 90-day departures from normal. Throughout most of the ACF River Basin, rainfall departures have been 2 inches or less above normal, though parts of southern and central GA and AL saw departures above 2 inches.
The past 90 days, rainfall departures through most of the ACF are 2 inches or less above normal.

NOAA Seasonal Outlook (February - April)

NOAA's 3-month Seasonal Outlook for Temperature (left image) and Precipitation (right image), predicting whether conditions will be above- or below- normal from February to April 2021. Favors above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall for the Southeast.
The NOAA 3-month seasonal outlooks favor above-normal temperatures for the southeast U.S. and below-normal rainfall from February to April 2021.

 Real-time Streamflow

U.S. Geological Survey real-time streamflow maps of the Southeast for December 15, 2020 (left image) and  January 26, 2020 (right image). In the ACF Basin, streamflow levels range from high to much-below normal, with the majority of locations within normal range.
Streamflow levels in the ACF River Basin are currently in the high to much-below-normal range, with the majority of locations in the normal range. Source: USGS WaterWatch.

Flint River at Albany

28-Day Average Streamflows

Streamflow graph showing 28-day average discharge for the Chattahoochee River at West Point, GA in cubic feet per second.  28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River are in the above normal to normal range
28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River are in the above normal to normal range, 28-day average streamflow for the Flint River are in the normal range, and the Apalachicola River flows are in the normal range. Source: USGS WaterWatch.

Real-Time Groundwater Conditions

Real-time groundwater levels compared to normal conditions across the ACF basin on December 15, 2020 (left image) and January 26, 2021 (right image). Most stations are in the normal range (25%-75%), with levels ranging from above-normal (76%-90%) to low.
Real-time groundwater levels across the ACF basin range from above normal to low, with most stations in the normal range. Source: USGS WaterWatch.

ACF Reservoir Conditions

2021 ACF Basin Composite Conservation and Flood Storage

Graph of 2021 ACF Basin composite conservation and flood storage, with data through January 25, 2021. Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal with all projects operating above or right at winter pool elevations.
Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal with all projects operating above or right at winter pool 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

1-Month Mean Daily Streamflow Forecast: February 2021

The 1-month mean daily streamflow forecast for the Apalachicola Watershed, which predicts near normal flow conditions across all stations except Lake Lanier Inflows (which is predicted to be above-normal).
The 1-month mean daily streamflow forecast predicts near-normal flow conditions for February 2021. Source: National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center.
3-month mean daily streamflow forecast for the Apalachicola Watershed, predicting near-normal flows.
The 3-month mean daily streamflow forecast predicts near-normal flows. Source: National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center.

Acknowledgments 

Speakers:

David Zierden, Florida State University

Tom Littlepage, ADECA Office of Water Resources

Paul Ankcorn, U.S. Geological Survey

Troy Ephriam, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Mobile District

Jeff Dobur, National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center

Hamid Moradkhani, University of Alabama

Summary Prepared By:

Rachel McGuire, Auburn University 

Resources

 

Join the ACF mailing list to receive email updates. For webinar-related questions, please contact Rachel McGuire (rem@auburn.edu).