National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Table of Contents 

2016 Headline Stories 

Hydrologic Summary & Drought Conditions 


A fairly normal start to 2016 hydrologically changed direction drastically as the year progressed. The first few months of the year were characterized by generally normal winter and early spring rainfall with periodic bouts of minor riverine flooding. Rainfall in February produced minor flooding on portions of the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Cahaba and Coosa Rivers, and again in mid-March on the Tombigbee and Sucarnoochee Rivers. Rainfall during the remainder of the spring was fairly typical of the season with only some minor flooding on the Upper Tombigbee River in mid-April.

As we moved into the summer season, June brought below normal rainfall to much of the area, but was followed by more normal summertime rainfall in July, as typical summertime convection was observed. Moving into August, however, changes began. Drier conditions developed, and by the month’s end, moderate to severe drought had developed across the area. The dry pattern persisted into September, and the drought continued to slowly intensify. By mid-September, the driest conditions of the year developed across Central Alabama and continued until late November as persistent high pressure almost totally ended rainfall over the area. Some stations experienced over sixty consecutive days without measurable rainfall during this period, including sixty one consecutive days at the Birmingham Airport, sixty two days at Anniston and seventy one days at Tuscaloosa.

With this extremely dry pattern in place, and with much above normal temperatures for the time of year, extreme to exceptional drought rapidly developed and engulfed virtually all of Central Alabama by mid-November. Voluntary water restrictions were implemented in many areas, with mandatory water restrictions in places such as the greater Birmingham area. Agricultural interests were hard-hit, with many pastures and other crops suffering significant losses and cattle ponds and small streams drying up in many counties. The planting of many winter crops was either delayed or did not occur due to the extremely dry conditions. Numerous wildfires also occurred across the area. The Alabama State Forestry Commission reports that over eleven hundred wildfires burned over twenty thousand acres in Central Alabama during October and November.

The dry conditions finally began to abate somewhat during the latter half of November as much needed rainfall finally returned to Central Alabama. The weather pattern in December continued to bring periodic rainfall to the area. However, despite the rainfall late in the year, most stream flows across the area in late December were still running below normal, and extreme to exceptional drought persisted across much of Central Alabama.

Drought Information


Below are the Drought Conditions each month in 2016

January 5 2016 February 2 2016 March 1 2016

April 5 2016 May 3 2016 June 7 2016

July 5 2016 August 2 2016 September 6 2016

October 4 2016 November 1 2016 December 27 2016

Additional Drought Information can be found at the following links:

Precipitation Stats


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


2016 Precipitation Totals 2016 Precipitation Extremes

Yearly Maximum Precipitation Totals Yearly Minimum Precipitation Totals

2016 Total Rainfall 2016 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 2016:

Alabama Tornadoes



Central Alabama Tornadoes



PLEASE NOTE: Data on the map above taken from the National Weather Service Damage Survey Interface.  Some tornadoes outside of Central Alabama may not be included on this interactive map.  

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

Tropical Weather


The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be remembered as a relatively normal season. The 2016 season produced 15 named storms, of which 7 became hurricanes. Three 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 above 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 2016 Preliminary Summary

National Hurricane Center 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Seasonal Summary

Data provided by the NWS BMX and NHC.

Temperature Extremes 


Unseasonably Warm Fall