Southern drought relents but not over, despite recent rains

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Lakeland, Tenn.

ATLANTA (AP) — Recent showers and storms across much of the South have eased the severe drought in the region, but experts say it wasn’t enough to make up for months of dry conditions before the rain finally fell.

Mark Svoboda, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, says the recent rains helped in the short term — and they also slowed large wildfires burning in several Southern states.

However, Svoboda and others say more rain is needed before the drought’s end can be declared.

A new national report on drought conditions is expected to be released later Thursday by the Drought Mitigation Center.

The report will show how recent rains have affected various levels of drought in hard-hit states like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and others.