National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Table of Contents 

2015 Headline Stories 

Drought Conditions 


2015 Ends with a Flood

Central Alabama suffered through some dry years, 2010 through the beginning of 2013, where drought conditions dominated. In 2014, Central Alabama experienced improving conditions, with many locations drought free for the start of 2015.

The late winter and early spring seasons were slightly dry in spots, leading to a few areas of D2 (Moderate Drought) to occur. But these conditions were short-lived, the remainder of 2015 was well above normal on rainfall pushing yearly rain amounts well over normal for the entire area. We actually end 2015 in better shape than 2014. The last week of the year many locations in Central Alabama received 5+ inches of rain.

Below are the Drought Conditions each month in 2015

January 6 2015 February 3 2015 March 3 2015

April 7 2015 May 5 2015 June 2 2015

July 7 2015 August 4 2015 September 1 2015

October 6 2015 November 3 2015 December 29 2015

Additional Drought Information can be found at the following links:

Flooding, Flash Flooding, River Flooding & Precipitation


2015 A fairly uneventful hydrologic year for most of Central Alabama…until Christmas!

The weather story for 2015 in Central Alabama precipitation-wise was one of above normal rainfall in some areas, with frequent and sometimes heavy precipitation, while other areas received below normal rainfall. With this said, there were no major flood events on area main-stem rivers and mostly localized, sporadic episodes of flash flooding. Yearly rainfall totals averaged between forty and sixty inches across Central Alabama, with localized amounts over sixty five inches.

The year began with fairly typical January rainfall averaging from four to six inches across the area. Much of this fell during the first few days of the month and produced some minor flooding on portions of the Black Warrior, Cahaba, Tombigbee and Sucarnoochee Rivers, as well as flooding of many small streams in Lamar County and some localized street flooding in portions of Pickens and Tuscaloosa Counties. As we moved into February below normal rainfall was observed with no significant flooding observed. The most interesting precipitation event of February occurred on the 25th when snowfall of four to ten inches with some localized totals near one foot occurred north of a line from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Anniston.

The main spring flood season was a relatively quiet one across Central Alabama as the March through May time period saw periodic heavy rainfall events, but only very limited river flooding. Heavy rainfall during the first part of March produced minor flooding at the Bevill Lock and Dam on the 11th and 12th but only moderate rises elsewhere. April was a wet month, with rainfall averaging between four and ten inches. However, only Selden Lock and Dam reached flood stage when minor flooding occurred from the 19th through the 22nd. This followed heavy rainfall of four to eight inches that gradually accumulated from the 13th through the 18th. Two to five inches of rain to the south and east of this area produced rises to above caution stages on portions of the lower Cahaba, Alabama and lower Tallapoosa Rivers. Rainfall was below normal in May with no flooding observed in Central Alabama.

As Central Alabama moved into its summer season, summertime thunderstorms continued to produce episodes of localized, heavy rainfall and isolated flash flooding. On June 1st, two to three inches of rain produced street flooding in Ragland, and water entered a home in Ohatchee. On June 9th, three to five inches of rain in Prattville produced considerable street flooding with several roads barricaded during the event. In July, heavy rainfall during the morning of the 3rd produced road and street flooding in Lamar County. Heavy rainfall on July 4th produced flash flooding in southern Jefferson County, with water rescues needed from an apartment complex near Shades Creek. Otherwise, the remainder of July and August only saw fairly isolated, nuisance type flooding from localized heavy rainfall in summertime thunderstorms.

Drier weather returned in September, with below normal rainfall and no flooding issues. This continued through October into mid-November. However, two to four inches of rain from November 16th to 18th occurred and produced rises on the Alabama River at Montgomery to above its caution stage.

As we moved into December, heavy rainfall events continued to occur over the area, but with these coming several days apart and streamflows not very high, runoff was able to move downstream without producing any rises of significance…until Christmas! On Christmas Eve Day, heavy rain fell over the southeastern counties of Central Alabama with widespread flash flooding occurring over portions of Randolph…Lee…Macon…Bullock…Elmore…Mongomery…Russell…Pike and Barbour Counties. Numerous roadways were flooded and many closed across these areas…with flooding of some residences in localized areas. Then…on Christmas Day additional heavy rain fell over much of Central Alabama once again producing widespread flash flooding with numerous roadways flooded and impassable as well as some bridges and culverts washed out. Some homes were also flooded in areas such as Pratt City and some water rescues became necessary. Additionally, widespread river flooding developed on most area main stems following this rainfall. Most of the river flooding was minor, although moderate flooding occurred at a few locations across the area. Three day rainfall totals from the 23rd to the 26th averaged four to eight inches in many areas, with localized amounts over ten inches. Although levels were starting to recede somewhat, widespread river flooding was still in progress across much of Central Alabama as 2015 came to an end. Below are a few of the locations that experienced river flooding at the end of December.


Bevill L&D - Tombigbee River Montgomery - Catoma Creek Childersburg - Coosa River

Demopolis - Tombigbee River Montgomery - Alabama River Sayre - Locust Fork

Seldon - Black Warrior River Tallapoosa W.P. - Tallapoosa  


Data supplied by the NWS BMX. Additional Flood Information can be found at the following links:


2015 Precipitation Totals 2015 Precipitation Extremes

Yearly Maximum Precipitation Totals Yearly Minimum Precipitation Totals

2015 Rainfall Departures Available Soon

2015 Total Rainfall 2015 Rainfall Departure

January Total Rainfall February Total Rainfall March Total Rainfall

April Total Rainfall May Total Rainfall June Total Rainfall

July Total Rainfall August Total Rainfall September Total Rainfall

October Total Rainfall November Total Rainfall December Total Rainfall
Severe Weather


Preliminary Severe Weather Numbers for Alabama & Central Alabama in 2015:

Alabama Tornadoes



Central Alabama Tornadoes



Data supplied by the NWS BMX. Additional information on severe weather and storm surveys can be found at the following links:

Tropical Weather


The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be remembered as a relatively quiet season just as predicted. The 2015 season produced 11 named storms, of which 4 became hurricanes. Two of the hurricanes reached major hurricane status. Based on the 30 year climatology, the Atlantic Basin has an average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Therefore, the number of named storms was below the normal expected. But the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes was very close to normal. None of these storms impacted Central Alabama.



National Hurricane Center 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Seasonal Summary

NOAA 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Summary

Data provided by the NWS BMX and NHC.

Temperature Extremes 


Unusual December

Things heated up (both literally and figuratively) as the year came to an end. Beginning Monday, December 21st, an evolving and days-long, large-scale pattern featured a broad 500mb trough across the western U.S. and a western Atlantic surface ridge. This setup placed Alabama within a steady southerly fetch of deep-layer moisture and warm surface air, which included near-record to record high temperatures, persistent wind shear, and widespread heavy rainfall.

Many record high maximum temperatures and record high minimum temperatures were observed the last week of December. This led to an unseasonably warm December. In fact, based on the average monthly temperature, all four of our main climate sites observed the warmest December on record in 2015.

The biggest story during the month of December would have to be the heavy rainfall that fell across much of Central Alabama from Dec 23rd-Dec 25th. The southeast counties were the first to be impacted by flash flooding. From December 23rd to December 24th, many locations received 6-10 inches of rain, with localized higher amounts. The heavy rainfall then shifted to the northern portions of Central Alabama early on Christmas Day. Rainfall totals of 4-8 inches occurred over a large area. This resulted in widespread and significant flooding for locations in the northern third of Alabama. The excessive runoff caused by the heavy rainfall led to flooding along almost every main stem river in Central Alabama, as well as numerous small creeks and streams.

In addition to the widespread flooding during the Christmas holiday, there were 4 tornadoes that touched down across the area. A couple of weak tornadoes were confirmed in Barbour County on the morning of December 24th. Two additional tornadoes touched down along the I-20 corridor in the late afternoon hours of December in Tuscaloosa County and one in Jefferson County. Thunderstorm wind damage was also confirmed in Bibb County on Christmas Day.

Click here for more information regarding the widespread flooding and tornadoes of Dec 23rd-25th.