Extreme drought in the Tennessee Valley: Then and Now photos provide perspective at High Falls Park

Our sincerest thanks go to Karen Darwin, who emailed these photos to WHNT News 19.

"I took the first pictures May 10 and then today [October 17, 2016] at High Falls, wish it would rain..."

We do too, Karen -- as of October 17, the Tennessee Valley is running a rainfall deficit of at least 9 inches.

For perspective, as much as 5.34 inches of rain was recorded at the Huntsville International Airport on Christmas Day 2015, when the Valley experienced widespread flooding.

Although Karen's "before" pictures show lush trees and full water volume in High Falls Park in May 2016, the reality is that only 1.62 inches of rain fell at Huntsville's airport this year, or 3.49 inches less than what normally falls in the month of May. High Falls Park is located in southern DeKalb County, near Geraldine.

Indeed, the extreme drought has been building since early spring of 2016, and the region is in serious need of rain through the fall and winter months.

Below is a photo gallery highlighting the contrast between May and October 2016 water volume at High Falls Park.