Where drought conditions are and why it could get worse

Drought conditions are developing in western sections of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. (File Photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The recent dry weather is beginning to take its toll on parts of the area, and it will likely get worse.

November was actually a somewhat wet period in the Jacksonville area.

Jacksonville International Airport received 3.02 inches of rain in November. This is actually a little over 1 inch above average and is mainly the byproduct of Nicole dumping heavy rainfall in the region.

But the back end of the month was quite dry.

The airport has only received 0.27 inches since Nicole, which is creating dry conditions.

The dry conditions are becoming worse in western areas.

Drought developing

The latest Drought Monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center is showing Moderate Drought conditions along and west of the I-75 corridor.

This includes most of Columbia County and Lake City.

Drought Index for week of November 29.

The drought is even worse in much of Florida’s Panhandle.

Much of the region, including cities like Tallahassee, Destin and Pensacola, are in a Severe Drought.

Drought expansion?

While Jacksonville and coastal areas remain drought free, that may change later this month.

Monthly rainfall outlook for December.

Drier than average conditions are forecast for the entire month of December by the Climate Prediction Center, which could result in drought conditions pushing eastward toward Jacksonville.

The latest seasonal outlook from the Climate Prediction Center does have most of Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida in a Drought Development Likely zone.

Monthly drought outlook for December.

This forecast goes through the end of the month, signifying drought conditions might slowly develop across the area.

Drought impacts

If a drought does begin to take shape in late December and January, it will likely result in consequences for the early part of 2023.

Burn bans might become necessary by early Spring, and the threat for brushfires will likely increase across the region. Duval County has a permanent burn ban in place.

If drought conditions become very intense, water restrictions might also be possible.

Rainfall this time of year can be critical in helping to reduce an intense brushfire season.

So while the sunshine and dry conditions are nice now, it could result in drought expansion over the next several weeks across much of the area.

About the Author:

David Heckard is The Weather Authority's Assistant Chief Meteorologist.