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Pike placed under severe drought

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Gov. Bob Riley has declared all 67 Alabama counties to be under a drought.

Riley said 23 of those are under “drought warning,” which is one step below the most severe drought level.

Those counties are: Barbour, Calhoun, Chambers, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Coosa, Dale, Dallas, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Marengo, Monroe, Pike, Randolph, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Washington, and Wilcox. The remaining counties are under a drought watch.

Riley said the state is reeling from a very little rain since the spring.

Riley’s announcement follows an assessment by the state’s Office of Water Resources, part of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

“While 2009 was a very wet year and we had plenty of rain earlier this year, we have not had anything approaching normal rainfall since early spring,” Riley said in a statement. “This has resulted in very dry conditions throughout much of Alabama and the need for water users to carefully monitor conditions in case they get worse.”