It’s official: the “dry spell” is now a “drought”

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A large part of the Tennessee Valley is officially in “drought” now.

Thursday’s weekly update of the US Drought Monitor showed a large area of North Alabama, Tennessee, and North Georgia in “moderate” (D1) drought.  According to Alabama’s State Climatologist Dr. John Christy, it would take around four to six inches of rain to end the building drought.

That’s not looking very likely.

“Hit-or-miss” showers and storms are the only hope for rain in the near-term, and we do expect at least a hand full of them scattered around North Alabama and Tennessee in the next few days.

The best chance of any substantial rain exists around the edges of the Tennessee Valley through the next seven days.  Any one downpour could produce up to a half-inch of rain; that will not be a very common occurrence, though.

Any signs of a switch to wetter weather?

ECMWF Ensemble 45-day rainfall outlook

ECMWF Ensemble 45-day rainfall outlook

A developing pattern change by next weekend (the first weekend of June) puts us in a more favorable spot for some appreciable rainfall.  It's not a guarantee, though.  The long-range guidance from the American-run GFS and the European ECMWF ensemble point to an unusually deep trough in the East for early to mid-June.

That would give us a break from the heat and provide a pathway for some more organized thunderstorm activity around Alabama and Tennessee.  European guidance over the next 45 days shows a total precipitation accumulation of around six inches.  That keeps par with average through July 8th (6.04"), but we need more than the "normal" to get out of the drought.

Keep up with the latest with these hit/miss downpours with WHNT News 19's Live Alert 19; it gives you all of the information you need to stay ahead of the heat and the downpours whether you're working outside or looking for some outdoor leisure time!

-Jason
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