National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


2018 Central Alabama Year in Review

Table of Contents 

2018 Headline Stories 

**Note: All of the following data should be considered preliminary. Not all of the data has been
completely quality controlled.**

Hydrologic Summary & Drought Conditions 


2018 will be remembered as a fairly normal year hydrology-wise, with somewhat above normal rainfall, scattered episodes of mostly minor river flooding, and periodic flash flood events from localized heavy rainfall. Rainfall for the year averaged between forty five and sixty five inches, with locally greater amounts. The driest areas were found in the southeastern sections.

January began on a dry note with monthly rainfall averaging from one to three inches in most areas, although three to five inches fell in portions of the Alabama and lower Tallapoosa River basins. This helped maintain the relatively dry conditions that had persisted from late 2017 across much of Central Alabama.

February was a different story as periodic storm systems brought above normal rainfall back to the area. Monthly totals averaged six to twelve inches along and north of a Selma to Anniston line, with four to six inches south of this area. However, due to the lingering dry antecedent conditions, only minor river flooding occurred during the month on portions of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers.

Below normal rainfall returned in March, but April transitioned to a typical early spring-time pattern. Rainfall of three to five inches occurred over the eastern sections of Central Alabama in April, and five to eight inches with locally greater totals in the western counties. Minor river flooding was observed on portions of the Black Warrior, Tombigbee and upper Cahaba Rivers during the month. Localized heavy rainfall also produced flash flooding during the early morning hours of the 15th in Dallas County. Several roadways were flooded from this rainfall, as well as portions of the Valley Grande Golf Course.

Above normal rainfall continued into May across much of Central Alabama, although monthly totals averaged below normal in east-central and southeast sections. On the 23rd, three to five inches of rain fell over Lee and Russell Counties. This produced significant flash flooding, with numerous roads flooded and washed out, as well as some bridge collapses in Lee County. Late in May, heavy rain fell from sub-tropical storm Alberto as it moved northward from the Gulf of Mexico. From the 28th to the 31st, rainfall averaged three to four inches, with five to eight inches over portions of the lower Cahaba and Alabama River basins. However, due to the extended duration of the rainfall and relatively low antecedent stream flows, no significant flooding occurred on area rivers and streams. But, on the night of the 28th into the morning of the 29th, heavy rainfall produced widespread flash flooding over portions of Tuscaloosa, Hale, Greene, Dallas, Perry, Chilton and Elmore Counties. Many roadways and some apartments were flooded in the Eutaw area, and numerous streets were flooded in Marion with some water rescues needed. Numerous state and county roads were flooded in Perry County, with roadways and some homes also flooded in Chilton County.

As Central Alabama moved through the summer season, a typical pattern of scattered convection was observed. Periodic heavy rainfall from summertime thunderstorms produced localized episodes of flash flooding from June through September. Rainfall of up to eight inches in northwest Russell County on June 17th flooded some roads and streets in the area, and localized heavy rainfall in the Homewood area of Jefferson County also produced street flooding.

In July, over four inches of rain during the evening hours of the 6th produced street flooding in Tuscaloosa, with numerous roads flooded and many vehicles stalled. On the 17th, over three inches of rain in a couple of hours made many roads in the Jasper area impassable, with some businesses flooded. And during the evening of the 31st, two to four inches of rain in Gadsden during a couple of hours flooded streets and stalled vehicles, with water entering at least one home.

In September, three to six inches of rain on the 26th produced flash flooding in the western sections of the Birmingham metropolitan area, including portions of downtown Birmingham, Bessemer, McCalla, Brighton and Hueytown. Significant flash flooding occurred along and near Valley Creek, especially in the Hueytown area. Portions of the Bessemer Superhighway became impassable due to the heavy rainfall.

A brief respite occurred in October with below normal rainfall returning. However, this was short-lived as above normal rainfall reappeared in November, with monthly totals averaging from five to nine inches. However, most rivers and streams remained within their banks, with only some localized rises to Caution Stage observed at a few river forecast points.

The above normal pattern of rainfall continued in December with most areas reporting much above normal rainfall as the month was winding down. Monthly totals generally averaged from eight to twelve inches, with localized higher amounts. The most significant flooding event of the month occurred following heavy rainfall of up to six inches or more that occurred from the 27th to the 28th. This rainfall, in addition to rainfall during the next few days, sent numerous rivers into flood across Central Alabama. Minor flooding occurred along the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Sucarnoochee, Alabama, lower Tallapoosa and lower Coosa River, as well as on Catoma Creek near Montgomery and on Village Creek in the Birmingham area. Moderate flood stages were reached at Demopolis on the lower Tombigbee River and on Catoma Creek at the U.S. Highway 331 Bridge near Montgomery.


Below are the Drought Conditions each month in 2018

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

January 2, 2018 February 6, 2018 March 6, 2018

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

April 3, 2018 May 1, 2018 June 5, 2018

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

July 3, 2018 August 7, 2018 September 4, 2018

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

October 2, 2018 November 6, 2018 December 25, 2018

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:


Precipitation Totals

Precipitation Extremes

2018 Precipitation Totals 2018 Precipitation Extremes

Yearly Maximum Precipitation Totals

Yearly Minimum Precipitation Totals

Yearly Maximum Precipitation Totals Yearly Minimum Precipitation Totals

Yearly Rainfall

2018 Total Rainfall

January Rainfall

February Rainfall

March Rainfall

January Total Rainfall February Total Rainfall March Total Rainfall

April Rainfall

May Rainfall

June Rainfall

April Total Rainfall May Total Rainfall June Total Rainfall

July Rainfall

August Rainfall

September Rainfall

July Total Rainfall August Total Rainfall September Total Rainfall

October Rainfall

November Rainfall

December Rainfall

October Total Rainfall November Total Rainfall December Total Rainfall
Severe Weather


Preliminary Severe Weather Numbers for Alabama & Central Alabama in 2018:

Alabama Tornadoes

Alabama Tornadoes

Central Alabama Tornadoes


North Alabama Tornadoes

Southwest Alabama Tornadoes


Southeast Alabama Tornadoes

Alabama NWS offices

Central Alabama Tornadoes

Central Alabama Tornadoes




Central Alabama Tornadoes - GIS Damage Path Display

View larger map


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 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season featured above normal activity. There were 15 named storms, of which 8 became hurricanes and 2 became major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) - Florence and Michael.

Based on the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index, which measures the combined intensity and duration of the storms during the season and is used to classify the strength of the entire hurricane season, activity in the Atlantic basin in 2018 was also above normal. In addition, 7 systems were subtropical at some point in their lifetime this season, which eclipses the previous record of 5 in 1969.

Central Alabama was impacted by Hurricane Michael and received some beneficial rainfall from Tropical Storm Alberto.


Tropical Storm Alberto - Path/Intensity.Alabama Rainfall

Hurricane Michael - Path/Intensity | Alabama Effects


Tropical Summary Map


2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Satellite Loop

NOAA Press Release

National Hurricane Center 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Seasonal Summary

Data provided by the NWS BMX and NHC.

Temperature Extremes 

2018 Extreme Weather

Hot & Cold Days

Birmingham Extremes Montgomery Extremes
Tuscaloosa Extremes Anniston Extremes

Record-Setting Warm February



February Temperature Stats

Wet End to the Year



December Precipitation Stats