The drought in Northern Alabama continues to expand and become more severe with each passing week. Huntsville hasn't picked up measurable rainfall since September 18th, and our rain chances this week look slim.
With a lack of rainfall the soil is drying up quickly. This could have a long lasting effect beyond crops. When the soil becomes dry it makes the drought more severe. That's because drought and soil moisture effect each other, by encouraging moist or dry conditions.
When drought occurs, the soil loses a moisture source. The soil already loses moisture through draining and evaporation too. So soon enough, the soil has seen a considerable decrease in moisture. If there's no moisture in the soil, there's no moisture to be evaporated into the air. If no moisture is evaporated into the air, there's less moisture available to potentially become rain. So basically, drought begets drought.
As of today, October 10, Huntsville is at about an 8 inch rainfall deficit. According to the palmer drought index Huntsville would need nearly 10 inches to end the drought. In Northeastern Alabama, that number is closer to 14 inches though. But keep in mind, since the soil loses moisture natural and evaporation rates are high due to the heat and drought, we need regular rainfall. A few weeks of consistent rain would be much more beneficial to the soil.