Drought hasn't been a problem in our local area for the last couple years. The most recent severe one came in 2010-12, broken by an unusually wet 2013. Prior to that, 2007-08 put us in extreme drought for months until 2009 came along and smashed all-time rainfall records, and then you can go back to the period late 1998-2000 for the previous one before a stretch of normal to wet years set in starting 2002. I think you get the picture: droughts here are recurring things in recent decades and it's only a matter of time before the next one shows up.
This year, we're seeing some ominous signs. After an adequate first half of the year, at the end of June we stood close to average* (two-thirds of an inch below, to be exact). Now we're almost finished with July, normally our second wettest month, and we've had only 1.86" rain with just 4 days to go. (My July rainfall at home is even less, but I had a bit more through June.)
A look back through the records shows that we haven't had a July this dry since 1957 (1.74" total), unless the next 4 days gives us a good downpour (which is possible). A dry July is not a good thing, as I have stated in this blog before.
Latest data from the National Drought Monitor puts parts of Georgia and Alabama in moderate drought, and even a few spots in south Georgia that are considered to be in severe drought. Right around our own area it is considered abnormally dry, something my burned grass and wilting flowers can attest to.
Too little rain in midsummer has other consequences, like temperatures. The summer of 2011 and the first half of summer 2012 were brutally hot - 2011 our hottest summer ever, and in 2012 Columbus had its hottest temperature on record (on June 30). This July, we've seen 16 days of 95º or higher, and 4 days when it reached 99º, all of those in the last 3 weeks. Too little rainfall and dry ground promote excessive heat, in conjunction with the overall pattern.
Don't be surprised if very little changes in August. The longer range pattern continues to look dry and hot, and the next three-month period starting in August is on average our driest of the year anyway. Some years (like 2012) we get lucky and a shift in the pattern brings cooler weather. Occasionally the tropics will get busy and tropical systems will bring some good late summer rain. Indications of that happening this year are not present.
Climate trends are not looking too favorable, either. We were fortunate to be in just the right part of the world to experience a cooler and wetter 2013 and 2014, but worldwide climate change will march on, likely making droughts and record summer heat more frequent in the South in the next few decades.
*Data is from the automated reporting station at the Columbus Airport; monthly averages based on the 30 years 1981-2010.