SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — “It’s been very dry for the Savannah area since January the first,” says Georgia State Climatologist, Bill Murphey.

Chatham County is currently experiencing a severe drought.

“Essentially it’s due to the rainfall deficits, that’s the big reason right now, a lack of precipitation,” Bill Murphey said. Murphey says, this is the 13th driest year on record in the past 128 years.

“They’ve received only 7.95 inches of rain,” Murphey said. “The average is 13.26 so that puts them about 5.3 inches below normal.”

The rainfall deficit the county’s experiencing now could impact this summer.

“We didn’t get the recharge we need at the beginning of spring or in winter,” Murphey said.

This coupled with hotter than average temperatures due to a steady warming trend could impact our plant populations and increase tree mortality.

“We know that there’s a long-term trend towards warming conditions,” said Pam Knox. “But the warming conditions are occurring more often,” Knox said. “The prediction for this summer is that we are likely to see another above-average summer as far as the temperature goes.”

Droughts like this are likely to persist and experts say that means farmers in Georgia will need to adapt.

“We’re likely to see more droughts in the future that means farmers are going to need to get by with less water,” Knox said. “With more warm temperatures, we’re getting more evaporation and more evapotranspiration, that means plants need more water just to keep going.”

But experts say we’re expecting a tropical rain pattern this summer that will likely help bring us out of this drought.

“It looks like we’re going to be in a rainier pattern for a while, dial it back to moderate drought, good news for farmers, thirsty time of year for crops.”