By Clint Thompson
It has been a hot and dry summer so far for Georgia’s specialty crop producers. Multiple areas are either abnormally dry, moderately dry or severely dry, according to the most recent release of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Pam Knox, University of Georgia Extension agricultural climatologist, provided good news for specialty crop producers, though.
“I’m pleased to say that (South Georgia) has a virtual 100% chance of getting at least an inch of rain in the next week,” Knox said. “There is some hope with this system in the northwestern gulf, it’s supposed to drift off to the west and then north through eastern Texas. Then it’s supposed to do a loop da loop. We could actually see some moisture from that storm maybe towards the end of the next seven days. It’ll probably hit northwestern Georgia more than the other parts of the state, but it does depend on how well it holds together.
“What it does show is that the gulf is now open and we’re bringing in that gulf moisture. That means we’re much more likely to get these daytime thunderstorms that we really depend on this time of year.”
Those daytime rain events have been all but non-existent the last two months. It worsened in June. All of Georgia has been impacted by the dry conditions. According to the University of Georgia Weather Network, Tifton, Georgia, received 2.79 inches of rain from June 1 to June 28, compared to 6.52 inches in 2021 and 5.06 inches in 2020. Moultrie, Georgia, received just 3.17 inches with only six rainy days.
“It is unusual to have this long without rain. That high pressure is just parked over us. That has really suppressed the development of daytime thunderstorms, which is really one of our key ways for getting rainfall this time of year,” Knox said. “We depend on having some soil moisture and these daily pop-up storms to give us rain. We also sometimes get rain from tropical systems, but it’s pretty early in the tropical season yet. We haven’t had a lot of benefit of that.
“Last year we had all kinds of tropical rain. In fact, I think some people probably claim we had too much because it was pretty wet in a lot of the fields. Last year we had one tropical system after another come through and bring rain. It’s pretty early in the tropical season, so we don’t know yet what’s going to happen. We know it’s going to be active, but we don’t know where those storms are going to go.”