National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

Drought Information For Central Alabama
Updated April 27th, 2017


 

Drought Conditions Persist In Central Alabama

 

Synopsis...

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that Moderate to Severe Drought persists across portions of Central Alabama. Severe Drought conditions persist from northern portions of Tuscaloosa County northward across most of Walker County. Moderate drought is found over most of the area north and east of a line from near Reform to Bucksville to Vandiver to Roselle to Lowndesboro to Carters Hill to Lapine...and also over the southern two-thirds of Marengo County. Elsewhere over Central Alabama Near Normal or Abnormally Dry conditions are found.

 

The Drought Monitor classifies drought within one of these five categories:

D0...Abnormally Dry
D1...Moderate Drought
D2...Severe Drought
D3...Extreme Drought
D4...Exceptional Drought

U.S. Drought Monitor
 

Climate Summary...

Some rainfall spread across Central Alabama from Saturday night into Monday morning but most totals were generally under an inch...although localized areas mainly in the northern counties received higher amounts to near two inches. Additional rainfall spread across the area last night and this morning with most areal amounts to this point averaging between one half and one and a half inches. Although this has provided a little help to improve the drought conditions across the area many USGS stream gauges are still indicating below normal stream flows across most of the area.

Some precipitation amounts for Central Alabama from January 1st through April 26th (For up to the most recent climate report...click on the city.):

Birmingham

19.93

Montgomery

19.92

Anniston

20.08

Tuscaloosa

21.16

Calera

20.62

Troy

         22.83

 

Average precipitation expected from January 1st through April 26th:

Birmingham

   18.40
+1.53

Montgomery

   19.46

 +0.46

Anniston

   18.13 +1.95

Tuscaloosa

   18.88

 +2.28

 Calera 18.95

+1.67

 Troy 18.82

+4.01

Hydrologic Impacts...

Lawn & Garden Index Crop Moisture Index

Soil moisture values in general continue to run below normal in most of Central Alabama. Periodic rainfall will be needed to erase the deficits.

 

Agricultural Impacts...

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that rainfall has been adequate for the time of year and plantind of crops is underway. Pastures are greening up and starting to grow. The wheat crop is reported to be progressing and many farmers have begun the planting of corn...cotton and soybeans. With the planting now underway in many areas periodic rainfall will be needed to bring the seeds up and maintain the crops. 

 

 
 

Keetch-Byram Drought Indices (KBDI)

Fire Danger Impacts...

The fire danger risk has increased somewhat across Central Alabama with Keetch-Byram Drought Indices (KBDI) showing a gradual increase during the past couple of weeks. Values are currently ranging from 100 to 300 with some values now above 300 in the northwest sections and east-central counties. Values above 500 indicate a severe fire danger.

 

Based upon information received from the Alabama Forestry Commission, there are now indications that many pine trees are dying due to infestation from pine beetles and other pests. According to forestry officials, there could be significant losses but the exact economic impacts are not known at this time. Despite the fact that there are currently no burn bans issued by the Alabama Forestry Commission, the State Forester continues to urge people that are doing any outside burning to follow safety precautions such as not leaving any fire unattended and having the proper equipment and personnel to control the fire. Summer Burning Restrictions for non-agricultural burns have been issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Affairs from May through October for the Central Alabama Counties of Etowah, Jefferson, Montgomery, Russell, Shelby and Talladega.

 

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook...

The latest USGS stream gauge data indicates that stream flows remain below normal across much of Central Alabama for this time of year as a lack of significant recent rainfall is once again being felt. Periodic rainfall will be needed for stream flows to return to their normal or above normal levels as we continue through the spring season.

 

Many of the major reservoir pool levels have either reached or are near their normal summer full pool levels. Listed below are current levels for some of the major reservoirs across Central Alabama and those from April 20th.

 

Reservoir Level for 04/27/17 Level for 04/20/17  

Weiss
Neely Henry
Logan Martin
Lay
Mitchell
Jordan
R.L. Harris
Martin
Smith
Bankhead
Holt

564.0
507.6
464.8
395.9
311.8
251.6
793.0
489.4
510.0
254.6
186.3

563.9
507.6
464.8
395.7
311.8
251.4
792.9
489.9
509.9
254.8
186.5
 

USGS Daily Streamflow Conditions

       
 

Social Impacts...

Reservoir levels are nearing or have reached their full summer pool levels as reservoir operators continue to gradually raise them.  Although some mostly voluntary water restrictions are still in effect many water restrictions have been lifted by local water boards and operations have returned to normal.

 

 

Seasonal Drought Outlook

Precipitation & Temperature Outlook...

A cold front brought rain overnight and into this morning but mostly dry weather is expected to return by late this afternoon and continue on Friday and Saturday. By late Sunday another storm system approaching from the west will bring more chances for rain and thunderstorms late Sunday afternoon and night. Behind this weather system mostly dry and slightly cooler conditions are expected for the first part of next week. 

 

The Two Week Outlook...from May 2nd through May 10th...calls for below normal temperatures transitioning to near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation chances.

 

The Longer-Range Outlook for the remainder of May through July is for above normal temperatures and equal chances for above normal...near normal or below normal precipitation.

 

The latest Seasonal Drought Outlook through July indicates that drought conditions are expected to persist or redevelop across Central Alabama.

 

Update Statement...

This next statement will be issued around Thursday May 4th.