The Tennessee Valley has been in a dire need of rain since spring, and as we head through the final weeks of fall and begin winter, the rainfall deficits continue to add up.
It all started in spring, when less than average rainfall fell in April and May. The data below is for the Hunstville International Airport, which received more rainfall compared to other towns and communities in the Valley.
Scattered storms dumped heavy rains during the hot and muggy months of June, July and August. But in September, it seems that the proverbial tap dried up.
The last substantial rainfall occurred on October 20, when 0.77 inches fell at Huntsville International Airport. In contrast, Muscle Shoals only received 0.05 inches that day; the town only received 0.08 inches of rain for the entire month of October. Decatur received 0.75 inches for the month, all of which fell on October 20.
So where does that leave us?
Unfortunately, we are not forecasting rain over the next 5 days. That means that Huntsville would surpass the 12-inch deficit threshold on Tuesday, November 15. Muscle Shoals has already passed that mark, and would be facing a 12.66 inch deficit by that date.
Statewide, the situation is more bleak. According to the Alabama Office of the State Climatologist, much of central to northern Alabama will need nearly 14.5 inches of rain to end the drought.
There is still a little bit more time before 2016 ends — about 7 weeks until the end of the year. However, assuming that the extreme lack of rain continues and no measurable rain falls between now and 2017, Huntsville could finish the year 20.58 inches below average; Muscle Shoals would be missing 20.99 inches of rain.