Drought conditions for much of Bibb, Houston and Middle Georgia

If brown lawns, brittle grass and rising water bills have not yet gotten your attention, parts of Middle Georgia are seeing moderate drought conditions.

Although many areas had been abnormally dry, much of Bibb and Houston counties are now officially designated D-1 or moderate short-term drought, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday.

A sliver of eastern Peach County is also in the midstate’s D-1 patch that includes Twiggs, Bleckley, Dodge, Pulaski and Wilcox counties and parts of Wilkinson and Laurens.

Above normal temperatures, including days of triple-digit temperatures and dangerous heat, took their toll in places not seeing sporadic showers and thunderstorms.

Macon remains in a dry pattern heading into the weekend, with only a slight chance of a stray shower or thunderstorm. Middle Georgia Regional Airport saw only a third of an inch of rain in the first 15 days of July, which is 2.10 inches below normal.

Since June, the deficit is 2.38 inches and year to date, Macon should have had 25.32 inches of rain, but it has registered just 20.61 inches, or 4.71 inches below normal.

Some pockets of extreme southeast Georgia are in severe drought conditions including Lanier, Clinch, Echols, Atkinson and Chartlton counties.

It’s been much worse recently, though. Just three years ago, many midstate counties were in “exceptional” drought, the worst category as defined by the Drought Monitor.

During that period, parts of Middle Georgia had some of the hottest average high temperatures in 120 years of record-keeping.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.