The official seasonal drought outlook issued by the National Weather Services predicts an easing but not a break in the regional drought:

The Outlook calls for some improvement for the severe drought covering much of the Southeast, although drought should persist well into summer. The areas with the best odds for improvement include the Gulf Coast, the southern and central Florida Peninsula, and the Carolinas. Despite scattered showers forecast for the region, no significant improvement is expected during the last half of May, and some areas, including the scene of the serious wildfire outbreaks in southern Georgia and northern Florida, may see deterioration. In contrast, normal rainfall should benefit southern Florida over at least the first 2 weeks of the forecast period. Despite the forecast for at least some improvement in most of the Southeastern drought areas by the end of August, complete eradication is unlikely as deficits accumulated since the first of the year exceed one foot in many locations. Tropical weather systems can potentially break droughts quickly, but future tracks of such storms are not known beyond a few days, adding to the uncertainty of seasonal forecasts.

Tropical Storm Barry, now bearing down on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, will aid that easing of drought conditions. A poorly organized storm, Barry will bring rain but not a lot of damage as it crosses Florida later today and heads north-northeast along the eastern seaboard. The National Hurricane Center expects Barry to weaken after landfall to the point of falling from tropical storm to tropical depression. Coastal storm surge flooding is expected to reach 3 to 5 feet above normal tide.

The Weather Underground projects Barry’s path through Tuesday morning, when it is expected to make landfall in western Maine after skipping along the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia. pinpoints Barry’s current position at 85 miles southwest of Tampa, FL, with sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts up to 65 mph, moving about 20 mph north-northeast.

[cehwiedel also writes at]

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