ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Thanks to a rainy holiday season, the Atlanta area stayed just above its historical low-water mark for annual rainfall, the National Weather Service reported.
With clear skies forecast for Monday, the yearly total Sunday night stood at 31.85 inches -- five hundredths of an inch over the 31.80 recorded in 1954, NWS forecaster Dan Darbe said.
"It still holds," Darbe said. "This year is now the second-driest on record."
The Atlanta area, which is home to more than 5 million people, typically gets between 50 and 55 inches of rain a year, according to weather service records.
But the Southeast has been grappling with an extreme drought since mid-2006, depleting the two major reservoirs that serve the city and its fast-growing suburbs and forcing state and local officials to impose water restrictions.
The drought has intensified a long-running battle among Georgia, Alabama and Florida over how to share water resources.
An Atlanta-area chain of nurseries has blamed its November bankruptcy filing on the dry spell, and marinas have pulled boats out of ever-shallower water or shuffled floating docks around to deeper points to keep them afloat.
The weather service's long-term forecast offers no relief, with exceptionally dry conditions expected to persist across the Southeast and possibly extend into Florida and the eastern Gulf Coast. E-mail to a friend
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