Albany - Tropical Storm Isidore is expected to dump as much as 20 inches of rain in parts of the Southeast. Another heavy soaking would be both helpful and harmful to drought stricken Southwest Georgia.
With our rainfall deficit, we really need the rain that Isidore will bring to our area. But heavy rains can also ruin crops. South Georgia farmers are already starting to harvest peanuts and cotton. Downpours can mean big loses in their fields.
"The rain can damage peanuts that farmers have already pulled from the grounds. And, rain can cause cotton bolls to rot," said Lenny Wells, Extension Service. Strong storm winds can also damage pecans, blowing them off the trees before they're ready for harvest.
There's no doubt that Georgia needs rain. The deficit is now at 10.44 here at WALB. Isidore is bringing more rain our way. The good news is heavy rains can quickly replenish the water levels in streams and rivers.
"The rivers and streams are resilient, but not the ground water. Groundwater doesn't respond to rain as well as small bodies of water," said hydrologist Woody Hicks.
The weather phenomenon, El Nino, is coming back."El Nino will bring steady rains that will help ease the drought. But, scientists just don't know how long it will take to get out of the 5-year epidemic," said Hicks.
An extended period of wet weather will ease the drought. South Georgia farmers were just hoping the rain would hold out until the fall crops were harvested.