- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - Crops, lawns, flowers and plants in northern Alabama are suffering through the most severe drought in nearly 10 years, forecasters said.

It could take up to 2 inches of rain each week for several weeks to end the drought, meteorologists said.

The U.S. Drought Report released Thursday shows the most severe conditions in northeast Alabama, with most of Jackson County and parts of Madison and DeKalb counties in extreme drought conditions.

Limestone County is experiencing a severe drought, the report shows. Another area of severe drought extends down from northeast Alabama to include several eastern Alabama counties near the Alabama-Georgia line.

In the Decatur area, the ground needs at least 1½ inches of rain a week to end the drought, John Christy, the state climatologist, told The Decatur Daily (https://bit.ly/29VyWNY ).

“If we start getting that much, it will slowly pull us out of it,” Christy said Wednesday. “If we get more than 2 inches, we can get out of it in a few weeks.”

None of the state was in a drought three months ago, but last week 64 percent of the state was in a drought area, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

Christy said the present drought is the worst since “the drought of record” in 2007 when many streams dried up. Huntsville was among three recording stations in the state that year to record the driest year in 100 years, he said.

David Miskus, a meteorologist at the Climate Prediction Center, said the present drought was created by rainfall going north and south of the area. He also said that there have not been any tropical storm systems in the Gulf of Mexico that would bring rain to the area.

“You need a big system to come in and drench the entire area,” Miskus told The Decatur Daily.

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