Latest On Central Alabama’s Drought Situation: 3/16/2017

| March 16, 2017 @ 2:22 pm

Drought conditions continue across Central Alabama, even though rain totals so far for 2017 are at or above average. As you can see by the latest graphic from the U.S. Drought Monitor for Alabama, much of Central Alabama is defined as having abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions. Almost all of the southern half of the state is out of a drought.

Here are the rainfall totals for Birmingham for the last 30, 90, and 365 days…

Observed rainfall in Birmingham for last 30 days.

For the last 30 days, the total rainfall for Birmingham is 3.40 inches. The total average rainfall for those same 30 days is 5.00 inches. We have a deficit of 1.60 inches for the last 30 days.

Observed rainfall in Birmingham for last 90 days.

For the last 90 days, the total rainfall for Birmingham is 12.90 inches. The total average rainfall for those same 90 days is 14.50 inches. We have a deficit of 1.60 inches for the last 90 days.

Observed rainfall in Birmingham for last 365 days.

For the last 365 days, the total rainfall for Birmingham is 38.60 inches. The total average rainfall for those same 365 days is 53.00 inches. We have a deficit of 14.40 inches for the last 365 days.

Here are the precipitation totals (through 3/15/17) for a few select cities in Central Alabama…

Birmingham
2017: total 12.09 in ….. avg 11.94 in ….. surplus 0.15 in
deficit/surplus since 1/1/2016: -13.26 in

Montgomery
2017: total 17.16 in ….. avg 12.86 in ….. surplus 4.30 in
deficit/surplus since 1/1/2016: -7.27 in

Anniston
2017: total 12.52 in ….. avg 12.14 in ….. surplus 0.38 in
deficit/surplus since 1/1/2016: -17.16 in

Tuscaloosa
2017: total 14.42 in ….. avg 13.00 in ….. surplus 1.42 in
deficit/surplus since 1/1/2016: -13.67 in

Calera
2017: total 14.50 in ….. avg 13.41 in ….. surplus 1.09 in
deficit/surplus since 1/1/2016: -16.20 in

Troy
2017: total 20.09 in ….. avg 11.73 in ….. surplus 8.36 in
deficit/surplus since 1/1/2016: -5.97 in

As you can see, even though we are in a surplus situation for the beginning of 2017 so far, all of Central Alabama are still trying to recover from the deficits from 2016.

The USDA reported in February that many water supplies had been replenished and crops were responding to the warm weather and increased moisture. Some trees were budding out due to the recent warm weather but this could be bad news due to the freezing temperatures experienced this week. It’s unknown at this point how much the freezing temperatures may have damaged crops across the area.

The fire danger risk remains low, and while the statewide burn ban has been lifted, the State Forester continues to urge people to use common sense and be safe when burning outdoors. There is concern that many pine trees could be infested with pine beetles and die due to the drought that has plagued the state.

Many stream flows are currently running near normal across the area after this past week’s rainfall, but a few are still running below normal. Most reservoirs have remained steady and are near their normal winter levels. Some of the reservoirs are being increased slowly by the operators to their summer pool levels. Although some mostly voluntary water restrictions are still in effect many water restrictions have been lifted by local water boards. Periodic substantial rainfall will need to occur for stream flows to remain at normal or above normal levels as we move into the spring season.

GFS rainfall estimates for the next 10 days.

As you can see by the rainfall estimates for the next 10 days, we will not be receiving much help in the rainfall department, and conditions are not likely to improve during that time.

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Scott Martin is a meteorologist, graphic artist, musician, husband, and a father. Scott is a member of the National Weather Association and the Central Alabama Chapter of the National Weather Association. Scott is also the co-founder of Racecast Weather, which provides accurate forecasts for many racing series across the USA.

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