Drought conditions improve slightly in northwest Alabama

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U.S. Drought Monitor, valid Thursday, August 4, 2016 (Image: WHNT News 19)

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
1045 AM CDT THU AUG 4 2016

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS IMPROVED SLIGHTLY IN SOME PARTS OF NORTHWESTERN
AND NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA...BUT OVERALL...DROUGHT CONDITIONS
LINGER...

SYNOPSIS:
ACCORDING TO THE DROUGHT MONITOR VALID TUESDAY...AUGUST 2ND
2016...DROUGHT CONDITIONS IMPROVED SLIGHTLY IN A FEW
AREAS...ALTHOUGH DROUGHT DESIGNATIONS REMAIN LARGELY THE SAME.
IMPROVEMENT FROM EXTREME DROUGHT /D3/ TO SEVERE DROUGHT /D2/ OCCURRED
IN EXTREME SOUTHWEST FRANKLIN COUNTY (AL). SO...EXTREME DROUGHT
CONDITIONS NO LONGER EXIST IN FRANKLIN COUNTY. CONDITIONS IMPROVED
FROM MODERATE DROUGHT /D1/ TO D0 MAINLY OVER SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL
PORTIONS OF FRANKLIN COUNTY (AL) AND ALSO ACROSS MUCH OF CULLMAN
COUNTY. OTHERWISE...EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS REMAIN UNCHANGED...AND
LINGER ACROSS MUCH OF JACKSON COUNTY...THE NORTHERN THIRD OF DEKALB
COUNTY AND IN PARTS OF NORTHWESTERN MADISON COUNTY AND A VERY SMALL
ADJACENT PORTION OF EAST CENTRAL LIMESTONE COUNTY. DROUGHT CONDITIONS
REMAIN UNCHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK IN SOUTHERN MIDDLE
TENNESSEE...WITH CONDITIONS RANGING FROM MODERATE DROUGHT IN WESTERN
PORTIONS OF LINCOLN AND FAR NORTHERN MOORE COUNTIES...TO EXTREME
DROUGHT IN FAR SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF FRANKLIN COUNTY (TN). PLEASE
REFER TO THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR WEB PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
(LINKED IN THE RELATED WEB SITES SECTION AT THE BOTTOM).

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS:
STATE AND LOCAL DECLARATIONS: THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND
COMMUNITY AFFAIRS (ADECA) OFFICE OF WATER RESOURCES CURRENTLY HAS
ALL OF OUR COUNTIES IN A `DROUGHT WARNING`...WITH THE EXCEPTION OF
CULLMAN COUNTY...WHICH IS IN A `DROUGHT WATCH`. PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS
AND OTHER PRIVATE WATER USERS SHOULD CONTINUE TO CAREFULLY MONITOR
CONDITIONS AND BE PREPARED TO IMPLEMENT DROUGHT CONSERVATION PLANS.
THE ALABAMA OFFICE OF WATER RESOURCES WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR
CONDITIONS AND PROVIDE UPDATED NOTIFICATIONS AS NEEDED.

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS:
PER THE LATEST CROP AND PROGRESS CONDITION REPORT FROM THE USDA
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE...THE AGRICULTURAL
EXTENSION AGENT IN DEKALB COUNTY REPORTS THAT SMALL IMPROVEMENT IN
PASTURES HAS OCCURRED DUE TO SOME RECENT RAINFALL. HOWEVER...CROPS
ARE STILL IN DISTRESS IN NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE COUNTY DUE TO THE
OVERALL DRY WEATHER AND HOT TEMPERATURES. AGRICULTURAL REPORTS
ACROSS THE REGION DURING THE GROWING SEASON HAVE INDICATED THAT CORN
HAS SUFFERED THE GREATEST DUE TO THE DRY CONDITIONS...ALONG WITH
PASTURE AND RANGE CONDITIONS.



IN TENNESSEE...THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENT IN MOORE COUNTY REPORTED
HOT AND MOSTLY DRY CONDITIONS AT THE END OF JULY. HAY FIELDS ACROSS
THE REGION ARE IN NEED OF RAIN

COUNTIES IN EXTREME DROUGHT /D3/ FOR ANY PORTION OF TIME
AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY FOR U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
PRIMARY NATURAL DISASTER STATUS. AS OF JULY 22ND...THE USDA
HAD OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED DEKALB...JACKSON...LIMESTONE...MARSHALL
AND MADISON COUNTIES AS PRIMARY NATURAL DISASTER AREAS DUE TO DAMAGES
AND LOSSES CAUSED BY THE RECENT DROUGHT. IN SOUTHERN MIDDLE
TENNESSEE...FRANKLIN AND LINCOLN COUNTIES ARE ALSO INCLUDED. PER THE
USDA...THE CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES OF CULLMAN...LAWRENCE AND MOORE ARE
ALSO INCLUDED IN THE DISASTER DECLARATION. ANY FURTHER NATURAL
DISASTER DECLARATIONS PERTAINING TO DROUGHT WILL BE UPDATED IN THE
NEXT DROUGHT STATEMENT ISSUANCE NEXT WEEK.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS:
THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO ALABAMA FORESTRY COMMISSION FIRE ALERTS OR
DROUGHT EMERGENCIES ISSUED. STATE FORESTER GREG PATE IS STILL URGING
EVERYONE TO USE ALL NECESSARY SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN DOING ANY TYPE
OF OUTDOOR BURNING. TO OBTAIN A BURN PERMIT...CONTACT THE ALABAMA
FORESTRY COMMISSION DISPATCH CENTER FOR YOUR COUNTY. LOCAL COUNTY
AND CITY LAWS MAY RESTRICT OUTDOOR BURNING HOWEVER...SO BURNERS ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTACTING THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR ADDITIONAL
INFORMATION.

THE TENNESSEE DIVISION OF FORESTRY HAS NO CURRENT BURN RESTRICTIONS
IN PLACE AND BURN PERMITS ARE CURRENTLY NOT REQUIRED BY THE
DIVISION. HOWEVER...BURNERS ARE URGED TO CHECK FOR ANY LOCAL
RESTRICTIONS PRIOR TO CONDUCTING BURNING ACTIVITY.

THE KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX (KBDI) AVAILABLE FROM THE U.S. FOREST
SERVICE WILDLAND FIRE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM INDICATES VALUES HAVE
IMPROVED TO AROUND 400 TO 500 ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST ALABAMA
AND 500 TO 600 ACROSS MUCH OF THE REMAINDER OF NORTHERN ALABAMA AND
LINCOLN...MOORE AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES IN TENNESSEE. HOWEVER...KBDI
VALUES HAVE DETERIORATED TO GREATER THAN 600 ACROSS NORTHEASTERN
PORTIONS OF JACKSON COUNTY. VALUES IN EXCESS OF 600 ARE OFTEN
ASSOCIATED WITH MORE SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS. INTENSE...DEEP
BURNING FIRES WITH SIGNIFICANT DOWNWIND SPOTTING...AND BURNING OF
LIVE FUELS CAN BE EXPECTED WITH KBDI VALUES ABOVE 600.



CLIMATE SUMMARY:
OVER THE LAST SEVEN DAYS...PRECIPITATION HAS BEEN LARGELY ABOVE
NORMAL ACROSS THE AREA. A LARGE PORTION OF THIS IS DUE TO RAIN THAT
FELL LATE TUESDAY AND INTO WEDNESDAY AFTER THE OFFICIAL U.S. DROUGHT
MONITOR UPDATE. HOWEVER...RAINFALL AMOUNTS OVER THE LAST WEEK WERE
GENERALLY BELOW NORMAL ACROSS NORTHERN JACKSON...PARTS OF NORTHERN
AND SOUTHERN DEKALB...AND IN MARSHALL COUNTIES IN ALABAMA.
TEMPERATURES DURING THE SAME TIMEFRAME HAVE AVERAGED NEAR TO SLIGHTLY
ABOVE NORMAL.

THIS PAST JULY WAS AMONG THE WARMEST ON RECORD. TEMPERATURES RANGED
FROM THE FIFTH WARMEST AT HUNTSVILLE...AND AT SCOTTSBORO...THIS WAS
THE SIXTH WARMEST ON RECORD...WHERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE GENERALLY
WORSE. AT MUSCLE SHOALS...THIS RANKED AS THE THIRTEENTH WARMEST JULY
ON RECORD. REGARDING PRECIPITATION...VALUES WERE SOMEWHAT MIXED
ACROSS THE AREA FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. GENERALLY ABOVE NORMAL
RAINFALL OCCURRED OVER NORTHWEST ALABAMA...AND BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL
OCCURRED ACROSS NORTHEASTERN ALABAMA...AND FRANKLIN COUNTY TENNESSEE.

DURING THE SPRING AND INTO SUMMER /MARCH TO EARLY AUGUST/...
TEMPERATURES HAVE AVERAGED WELL ABOVE NORMAL. IN HUNTSVILLE...THIS
PERIOD IS THE THIRD WARMEST SUCH PERIOD ON RECORD. IT IS THE SECOND
WARMEST PERIOD AT MUSCLE SHOALS. AT SCOTTSBORO...THIS RANKS AS THE
SEVENTH WARMEST.

FOR THE LAST 90 DAYS...THE SCOTTSBORO COOP SITE AT WWIC IN DOWNTOWN
SCOTTSBORO IS JUST OVER SIX INCHES BELOW NORMAL. RAINFALL SINCE
EARLY MARCH IS NEARLY TEN INCHES BELOW NORMAL.



PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK:
GENERALLY SCATTERED SHOWERS AND STORMS ARE POSSIBLE EACH AFTERNOON
AND EVENING FOR THE FORECAST PERIOD. SPOTTY COVERAGE OF CONVECTION IS
EXPECTED...SO SOME LOCATIONS MAY RECEIVE BENEFICIAL RAINFALL DURING
THIS TIME AND OTHERS MAY REMAIN DRY. THIS IS TYPICAL FOR THIS TIME OF
YEAR. OVERALL...PRECIPITATION LOOKS TO BE NEAR NORMAL OVER THE NEXT
WEEK...WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES.

THE OUTLOOK FOR WEEK TWO /AUG 11TH - AUG 17TH/ FROM THE CLIMATE
PREDICTION CENTER STRONGLY FAVORS ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND
SLIGHTLY FAVORS NEAR-NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR THE REGION. THE
OUTLOOK FOR AUGUST FAVORS ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES...AND SLIGHTLY
FAVORS BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

THE LATEST SEASONAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK VALID FROM JULY 21ST TO OCTOBER
31ST INDICATES THAT DROUGHT IS LIKELY TO PERSIST ACROSS THE REGION
THROUGH THE PERIOD.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
OVERALL...AREA RIVER AND CREEK STREAMFLOWS HAVE SHOWN SOME INCREASE
ACROSS THE AREA DUE TO RAINFALL RECEIVED OVER THE PAST 7
DAYS...ESPECIALLY OVER NORTHWEST ALABAMA. STREAMFLOWS STILL REMAIN
RELATIVELY LOW AT THE PAINT ROCK RIVER (9TH PERCENTILE)...WITH MANY
OTHER LOCATIONS WELL INTO THE LOWER 20-3O PERCENTILE RANGE FOR THIS
TIME OF YEAR.

LAKE LEVELS HAVE LARGELY BEEN UNAFFECTED BY THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS
SO FAR...WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS. LAKES WITHIN THE HEAVILY REGULATED
TENNESSEE RIVER SYSTEM ARE OPERATING WITHIN NORMAL POOL LEVELS.
ALTHOUGH...TIMS FORD LAKE CONTINUES TO OPERATE SLIGHTLY BELOW THE
NORMAL GUIDECURVE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR BUT IS STILL ABOVE THE
MINIMUM RECREATION LEVEL. LITTLE BEAR CREEK IS OPERATING BELOW THE
NORMAL GUIDE CURVE AND HAS FALLEN TO THE LOW NOTCH IN RECENT WEEKS.
PICKWICK LAKE IS OPERATING AT THE LOW END OF THE OPERATING ZONE.
ALABAMA POWER REPORTS THAT DRY CONDITIONS ARE HAVING AN IMPACT ON
SOME LAKE LEVELS UNDER THEIR CONTROL...INCLUDING LEWIS SMITH LAKE.
THE LAKE IS OPERATING BELOW ITS NORMAL GUIDE CURVE FOR THIS TIME OF
YEAR...AND IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO FALL WITHOUT THE NECESSARY
RAINFALL TO MAINTAIN NORMAL POOL.

ACCORDING TO THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER...THE LATEST DAILY SOIL
MOISTURE RANKINGS AS OF JULY 31ST INDICATED SOIL MOISTURE PERCENTILES
IN THE 5-10TH PERCENTILES IN FAR NORTHEASTERN ALABAMA...TO THE
20-30TH PERCENTILES ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA.

THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY GROUNDWATER WELL SITES IN LAWRENCE AND
CULLMAN COUNTIES INDICATE THAT GROUNDWATER LEVELS FELL BELOW THE
DAILY MEDIAN VALUE DURING THE MARCH TO LATE APRIL PERIOD AND HAVE
SINCE REMAINED BELOW NORMAL SINCE THAT TIME. GROUNDWATER LEVELS AT
THE WELL SITE IN CULLMAN CONTINUE TO SHOW GRADUAL DECLINES AND BELOW
NORMAL VALUES...BUT DECLINES IN GROUNDWATER LEVELS THIS TIME OF YEAR
ARE TYPICAL. GROUNDWATER LEVELS AT THE WELL IN LAWRENCE COUNTY HAVE
BEEN FLUCTUATING SINCE LATE MAY...WITH A TEMPORARY INCREASE RECENTLY
DUE TO THE RAINFALL RECEIVED IN LATE JULY. THE LATEST READINGS
STILL INDICATE BELOW NORMAL VALUES HOWEVER. THE GROUNDWATER WELL
SITES IN JACKSON AND MADISON COUNTIES OPERATED BY THE ALABAMA
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SHOW GROUNDWATER LEVELS BELOW AVERAGE FOR THIS TIME
OF YEAR...WITH VALUES HAVING FALLEN MARKEDLY SINCE LATE APRIL. IT IS
COMMON WATER LEVELS IN THESE WELL SITES FALL FROM SPRING INTO SUMMER.

THE OUTLOOK FOR SOIL MOISTURE AND STREAMFLOWS OVER THE NEXT WEEK IS
FOR LITTLE TO NO CHANGE IN IMPROVEMENT DUE TO THE SCATTERED NATURE OF
EXPECTED PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE AREA.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE:
THE NEXT DROUGHT STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED NEXT THURSDAY...AUGUST
11TH.