After years of struggling with drought conditions throughout much of the south, heavy rains have made the region nearly drought-free for the first time in several years. Over 95% of the south is now drought-free. Only a very small section of southwestern Florida is experiencing D1-Moderate Drought. Small sections of the northeast Georgia mountains, North Carolina, and Virginia are also experiencing D0-Abnormally Dry conditions. The drought began in 2006, when rainfall levels were about 60% of prior year averages. The area was hit very hard in 2007. In those years, only heavy rainfall in late December, relieved what would have otherwise been the driest year in state history. The lack of rainfall, along with the small drainage area feeding Lake Lanier, resulted in lake levels falling near the 1,035 foot level, which would have created water problems for the Atlanta metro area. 2008 rainfall levels were still well below average, but almost twice those of 2007.