Area No Longer in Extreme Drought

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The state is still dry, but no longer in extreme drought after recent rains.

“It`s going to take quit sometime with significant rain to get us back to a norm if you will,” said Rick Johnson, Washington County Emergency Management Deputy Director.

The grass and soil absorbing the more than welcome moisture, but since the drought plagued the area for a long time, dead grass and timber can still be a fire hazard.

“Even from the ice storm of 2009, there`s still a lot of debris that died that was broken off, it`s still out there,” Johnson said. “It`s very dry now, even though some rain is going to help, it`s still going to help to recoup and get moisture back into the grasses so we don`t have the fires.”

Recent rain has lifted Beaver Lake levels up a foot, but the level is still low.

“The last time the lake was this low was in 2006, it actually was three feet lower than it is today,” added U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ranger Alan Bland.

Bland said another 5 to 6 inch rain would lift water levels significantly.

“Between Huntsville and Fayetteville is the biggest part of our watershed, so when we hear that it`s raining east of Fayetteville. We get a excited because that`s the rivers, that`s where it really makes a difference the most,” said Bland.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works with a federal agency in measuring lake levels.

Right now, the corps says the lake is at a level one drought.

If it were to reach level two, which is about a five foot drop from where it's at now, then measures would have to be taken.

“Maybe there`s another lake they can pull generation from to meet needs, maybe it`s not Beaver right now not until we get back to a healthy lake elevation,” said Bland.