While beneficial, Thursday’s rain only a fraction of what’s needed to end the drought

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Thursday’s rain was heavy at times, but it was only a proverbial drop in the large bucket needed to end the drought that began in early 2016.

The graphic below shows the 24-hour rainfall totals through 10 p.m. Thursday. Many areas picked up significant rainfall.

10pm_24-hour-observed-rainfall

For example, Muscle Shoals began the day with a 1.12 inch rainfall deficit for 2017. By Thursday night, that deficit was pretty much erased.

mid-rangejason-drought-counties

Huntsville also saw marked improvement. Before the rain arrived Thursday morning, the city was running up a rainfall deficit a little more than 2 inches for the first month of 2017. By 10pm, that deficit was halved.

severe-jason-drought-counties

But it’s a short-term gain that is a fraction of what is needed to alleviate a long-term pain that developed in March of 2016. Much of northeastern Alabama and south-central Tennessee are still experiencing serious drought conditions, and it will take another 10 to 12 inches of rain in this region before conditions improve.

And though conditions are improving west of I-65, the Shoals still ended 2016 with a nearly 10 inch rainfall deficit.

Thursday’s rain is certainly welcomed, but it will take several more super-soaker weather events in order to make a dent in the Valley’s drought.

ce_rainfall-deficit

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
1220 PM CST THU JAN 19 2017

…DROUGHT CONDITIONS REMAIN UNCHANGED ACROSS THE AREA SINCE LAST
WEEK…

SYNOPSIS…
ACCORDING TO THE DROUGHT MONITOR VALID TUESDAY…JANUARY 17TH
2017…D3 DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE OCCURRING GENERALLY ALONG AND SOUTH
OF A LINE FROM VALLEY HEAD…TO FORT PAYNE…GUNTERSVILLE…
ARAB…CULLMAN…AND SMITH LAKE. NORTH OF THIS LINE…SEVERE DROUGHT
/D2/ CONDITIONS COVER MUCH OF NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHWESTERN ALABAMA.
HOWEVER…ABOUT THE WESTERN THIRD OF COLBERT COUNTY AND THE
NORTHWESTERN TWO-THIRDS OF LAUDERDALE ARE IN MODERATE DROUGHT /D1/.
THE ARE OF MODERATE DROUGHT ALSO INCLUDES SMALL PORTIONS OF FAR
NORTHERN LIMESTONE AND MADISON COUNTIES. A VERY SMALL AREA OF
ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS /D0/ IS SITUATED IN NORTHWESTERN LAUDERDALE
COUNTY.

IN TENNESSEE…MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO DOMINATE IN
FRANKLIN…LINCOLN…AND MOORE COUNTIES. HOWEVER…D2 DROUGHT
CONDITIONS WERE IMPROVED TO D1 CONDITIONS IN PARTS OF SOUTHERN
FRANKLIN COUNTY…AND NOW ONLY A SMALL SE PORTION OF THE COUNTY
REMAINS IN D2 DROUGHT STATUS.

NOTE: PRECIPITATION AND OTHER CONDITIONS (STREAMFLOWS, SOIL
MOISTURE, ETC.) THAT DETERMINE DROUGHT DESIGNATIONS EACH WEEK FOR
THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR ARE BASED ON DATA THAT END AT 6 AM CST EACH
TUESDAY. SO…ANY PRECIPITATION THAT FALLS AFTER THE 6 AM CUTOFF IS
NOT FACTORED INTO DESIGNATIONS FOR THAT WEEK…BUT WILL OF COURSE BE
FACTORED INTO THE DROUGHT MONITOR DESIGNATIONS FOR THE FOLLOWING
WEEKLY ISSUANCE. ALSO…THE DESIGNATION OF DROUGHT IS A MULTI-
FACETED PROCESS THAT INCLUDES NUMEROUS DATA FROM A VARIETY OF
PHYSICAL SYSTEMS ON DIFFERENT SPACE AND TIME SCALES…WHICH INCLUDE
PRECIPITATION…SOIL MOISTURE…STREAMFLOWS…VARIOUS DROUGHT
INDICES…AND GROUNDWATER…TO NAME A FEW.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS…
STATE AND LOCAL DECLARATIONS: THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND
COMMUNITY AFFAIRS (ADECA) OFFICE OF WATER RESOURCES HAD PLACED ALL
ALABAMA COUNTIES IN THE HUNTSVILLE COUNTY WARNING AND FORECAST AREA
IN A ‘DROUGHT EMERGENCY’ LATE LAST YEAR THROUGH EARLY THIS YEAR.
HOWEVER…THE LATEST DROUGHT DECLARATION FROM ADECA ISSUED
JANUARY 11TH PLACED ALL OF THE COUNTIES IN THE HUNTSVILLE COUNTY
WARNING AND FORECAST AREA (CWFA) IN A DROUGHT ADVISORY. THE EXCEPTION
IS CULLMAN COUNTY WHICH IS NOW IN A DROUGHT WARNING. THESE
IMPROVEMENTS IN CLASSIFICATION IS A REFLECTION OF THE IMPACT OF
RECENT RAINFALL IN LATE NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ON SOILS AND
STREAMFLOWS.

THE TENNESSEE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY /TEMA/ REMAINS IN A STATE
OF EMERGENCY DUE TO THE DRY CONDITIONS AND WILDFIRES THAT HAD TAKEN
PLACE…ESPECIALLY IN SOUTHEASTERN PARTS OF THE STATE. WHILE
WIDESPREAD DUTY PERSONNEL ARE NOT CALLED TO DUTY…ONLY SPECIFICALLY-
NEEDED PERSONNEL ARE REQUIRED.

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS…
SINCE THE PRIMARY GROWING SEASON HAS NOW ENDED IN THE REGION…CROP
AND PROGRESS CONDITION REPORTS ARE NOT CURRENTLY BEING ISSUED FROM
THE USDA NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE. THESE REPORTS ARE
NOT EXPECTED TO RESUME UNTIL APRIL. NEVERTHELESS…D3 AND D4 DROUGHT
CONDITIONS DURING THE GROWING SEASON LAST YEAR RESULTED IN DISASTER
DECLARATIONS FOR ALL OF THE COUNTIES IN THE HUNTSVILLE COUNTY WARNING
AND FORECAST AREA AS PRIMARY NATURAL DISASTER AREAS DUE TO DAMAGES
AND LOSSES CAUSED BY THE RECENT DROUGHT. THIS INCLUDES THE COUNTIES
OF COLBERT…CULLMAN…DEKALB…FRANKLIN (AL)… FRANKLIN
(TN)…JACKSON…LAUDERDALE…LINCOLN…MADISON…MARSHALL…MOORE…
MORGAN…LAWRENCE…AND LIMESTONE.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS…
CURRENTLY…THERE ARE NO BURN RESTRICTIONS FROM THE ALABAMA FIRE
COMMISSION (AFC). NEVERTHELESS…THE AFC ADVISES ANYONE CONDUCTING
OUTDOOR BURNING TO FOLLOW SAFETY PRECAUTIONS. ANY FIRE MORE THAN A
QUARTER ACRE IN SIZE OR WITHIN 25 FEET OF A FORESTED AREA REQUIRES A
PERMIT FROM THE AFC.

THE STATE OF TENNESSEE RESCINDED THEIR BURN BAN ON DECEMBER 19TH
2016. THERE ARE NO COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE BURN BANS CURRENTLY
IN PLACE IN THE STATE. HOWEVER…A DEBRIS BURNING PERMIT FROM THE
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIVISION OF FORESTRY IS REQUIRED
THROUGH MAY 15, 2017 TO BURN LEAF AND BRUSH PILES FOR RESIDENTS IN
FRANKLIN…LINCOLN AND MOORE COUNTIES. CITIZENS MAY OBTAIN BURN
PERMITS BY GOING TO WWW.BURNSAFETN.ORG.

DUE TO RECENT RAINFALL…THE KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX (KBDI)
AVAILABLE FROM THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE WILDLAND FIRE ASSESSMENT
SYSTEM SHOWS THAT VALUES HAVE DECREASED MARKEDLY. VALUES ACROSS
THE MAJORITY OF THE AREA STILL BELOW 200.

OTHER IMPACTS…
DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE DROUGHT LAST FALL…LOCAL NEWS REPORTED
THAT MANY HOME FOUNDATION REPAIR BUSINESSES IN NORTHERN ALABAMA WERE
BUSY BECAUSE DRY CONDITIONS HAD CAUSED LARGE CRACKS AND OTHER DAMAGE
TO HOME FOUNDATIONS. ALSO…COUNTY OFFICIALS ESPECIALLY IN
NORTHWESTERN ALABAMA REPORTED THAT LARGE NUMBERS OF CRACKS HAD
APPEARED ON ROADWAYS DUE TO THE DROUGHT. THIS INCLUDED PORTIONS OF
THE NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY IN NORTHWESTERN ALABAMA AND ADJACENT AREAS.
THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN SPOTTY REPORTS OF OTHER ROADWAYS IN THE
CENTRAL/EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE COUNTY WARNING AREA /CWA/ THAT HAVE
EXPERIENCED ISSUES/DAMAGE DUE TO THE DROUGHT.

CLIMATE SUMMARY…
OVER THE PAST WEEK…TEMPERATURES HAVE AVERAGED WELL ABOVE NORMAL
ACROSS THE AREA. IN FACT…TEMPERATURES ON MOST DAYS HAVE BEEN AROUND
20 DEGREES OR MORE ABOVE NORMAL. SEVERAL RECORDS TEMPERATURES HAVE
BEEN SET OR TIED SINCE JANUARY 12TH. PRECIPITATION HAS BEEN BELOW
NORMAL DURING THE LAST WEEK. PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS RANGED FROM LESS
THAN ONE TENTH OF AN INCH IN PARTS OF NORTHEASTERN ALABAMA TO AROUND
ONE HALF INCH IN WESTERN PARTS OF CULLMAN AND SOUTHEASTERN PARTS OF
FRANKLIN COUNTIES IN ALABAMA. NORMAL WEEKLY RAINFALL FOR THIS TIME OF
YEAR IS AROUND 1.25 TO 1.50 INCHES.

OVER THE LAST 30 DAYS…PRECIPITATION HAS GENERALLY BEEN ABOUT ONE
TO THREE INCHES BELOW NORMAL IN NORTHEASTERN ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN
MIDDLE TENNESSEE…WITH VALUES AROUND THREE TO FOUR INCHES BELOW
NORMAL IN PARTS OF NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA…FROM CULLMAN COUNTY NORTH
AND WESTWARD TO LAWRENCE AND LIMESTONE COUNTIES.

LONGER TERM PRECIPITATION DEFICITS ALSO STILL REMAIN. AT 90-DAY TIME
SCALES (GOING BACK TO MID OCTOBER)…RAINFALL DEFICITS ARE STILL
AROUND SIX TO EIGHT INCHES IN MUCH OF CULLMAN COUNTY AND IN SOUTHERN
MARSHALL COUNTY…AND FOUR TO SIX INCHES IN MUCH OF THE REMAINDER OF
NORTHWESTERN ALABAMA AND GENERALLY SOUTH OF THE TENNESSEE RIVER IN
NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN ALABAMA. ON LONGER TIMESCALES OUT TO
SIX MONTHS…PRECIPITATION DEFICITS ARE WORST IN NORTH CENTRAL AND
NORTHEASTERN ALABAMA…GENERALLY FROM LAWRENCE…MORGAN AND CULLMAN
COUNTIES…THROUGH MARSHALL COUNTY AND INTO SOUTHERN JACKSON AND
WESTERN DEKALB COUNTIES. DEFICITS IN THIS AREA ARE STILL AROUND EIGHT
TO TWELVE INCHES IN MANY AREAS…WITH SOME SPOTS OVER 12 INCHES BELOW
NORMAL.

REGARDING TEMPERATURES…
MEANWHILE…TEMPERATURES HAVE AVERAGED WELL ABOVE NORMAL FOR MOST OF
THE LAST YEAR WHICH HAS HELPED LEAD TO THE DEVELOPMENT AND
SUSTENANCE OF DROUGHT CONDITIONS. THE RECENT METEOROLOGICAL FALL
(SEPTEMBER THROUGH NOVEMBER) RANKS AS THE WARMEST ON RECORD AT
HUNTSVILLE AND MUSCLE SHOALS AND SECOND WARMEST AT SCOTTSBORO. 2016
FINISHED AS THE WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD AT HUNTSVILLE…AND 2ND
WARMEST AT MUSCLE SHOALS…WHILE RANKING AS THE WARMEST ON RECORD OR
IN THE TOP FIVE WARMEST AT SEVERAL OTHER SITES IN THE AREA.
TEMPERATURES DURING JANUARY SO FAR HAVE AVERAGED MUCH ABOVE
NORMAL…ALTHOUGH DAILY TEMPERATURES HAVE WAVERED SHARPLY FROM ABOVE
NORMAL TO BELOW NORMAL AND THEN BACK TO ABOVE NORMAL RECENTLY.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK…
TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO AVERAGE ABOVE NORMAL THROUGH THE NEXT
WEEK…WITH DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURES MAINLY IN THE 60S. OVERNIGHT
LOW TEMPERATURES WILL BE VERY MILD…IN THE 50S…THIS WEEKEND.
THEN…A COOLER AIRMASS MOVING INTO THE REGION WILL BRING MORNING
LOWS IN THE 40S FOR MUCH OF NEXT WEEK. STILL…THESE TEMPERATURES
WILL BE AROUND 10 TO 15 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL FOR MANY LOCATIONS.
OVERALL…PRECIPITATION TOTALS FOR THE NEXT WEEK ARE LIKELY BE ABOVE
NORMAL NORMAL AS SEVERAL SYSTEMS IMPACT THE REGION FROM TODAY THROUGH
NEXT THURSDAY.

THE OUTLOOK FOR WEEK TWO /JAN 26TH – FEB 1ST/ FROM THE CLIMATE
PREDICTION CENTER MODERATELY FAVORS BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND
PRECIPITATION FOR THE PERIOD.

THE LATEST SEASONAL OUTLOOK FOR (FEBRUARY THROUGH APRIL) SLIGHTLY
FAVORS ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR
THE REGION. THE LATEST SEASONAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK VALID FOR THE PERIOD
FROM JANUARY 19TH THROUGH APRIL 30TH INDICATES THAT THOUGH DROUGHT
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN BUT IMPROVE ACROSS MOST OF THE
REGION…WITH DROUGHT REMOVAL LIKELY FROM FAR NORTHWESTERN PORTIONS
OF ALABAMA.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK…
RIVER AND CREEK STREAMFLOWS HAVE NEVER FULLY RECOVERED SINCE THE
BEGINNING OF THE DROUGHT…ALTHOUGH CONDITIONS CERTAINLY HAVE WAVERED
OVER THE LAST FOUR TO SIX WEEKS. NEVERTHELESS…RIVER AND CREEK
STREAMFLOWS HAVE FALLEN ONCE AGAIN DUE TO RECENT BELOW NORMAL
PRECIPITATION. MOST 7-DAY AVERAGE STREAMFLOWS ARE NOW BELOW THE 20TH
PERCENTILE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. FOLLOWING ARE 7-DAY STREAMFLOWS
ALONG SOME OF THE STREAMS AND CREEKS IN OUR AREA…

MULBERRY FORK……2ND PERCENTILE
SIPSEY CREEK…….2ND PERCENTILE
BIG NANCE CREEK….4TH PERCENTILE
CYPRESS CREEK……4TH PERCENTILE
PAINT ROCK RIVER…6TH PERCENTILE
BIG WILLS CREEK….7TH PERCENTILE
BEAR CREEK………10TH PERCENTILE
FLINT RIVER……..10TH PERCENTILE
ELK RIVER……….14TH PERCENTILE

LAKE AND RIVER LEVELS ALONG THE HEAVILY REGULATED TENNESSEE RIVER
SYSTEM HAVE LARGELY BEEN UNAFFECTED BY THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS OVER
THE LAST YEAR AND ARE OPERATING WITHIN OR NEAR NORMAL POOL LEVELS.
HOWEVER…TIMS FORD LAKE CONTINUES TO OPERATE ABOVE THE NORMAL GUIDE
CURVE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. LEWIS SMITH LAKE IS ALSO OPERATING NEAR
THE NORMAL POOL LEVEL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR.

ACCORDING TO THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER…THE LATEST DAILY SOIL
MOISTURE RANKINGS AS OF JANUARY 11TH…INDICATE A CONTINUANCE OF LOW
SOIL MOISTURE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. PERCENTILE RANKINGS ARE AS LOW
AS THE 1ST TO 5TH PERCENTILES IN AREAS FROM SOUTHERN DEKALB TO
EASTERN CULLMAN COUNTIES…GENERALLY WITHIN THE CURRENT D3 DROUGHT
AREA. SOIL MOISTURE PERCENTILES CLIMB GRADUALLY TO THE
NORTHWEST…BUT ARE STILL ONLY AS HIGH AS ABOUT THE 20TH PERCENTILE
IN FAR NORTHWESTERN ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE.

THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY GROUNDWATER WELL SITE IN CULLMAN COUNTY
SHOWS THAT GROUNDWATER LEVELS FELL BELOW THE DAILY MEDIAN VALUE
DURING THE MARCH TO LATE APRIL PERIOD AND HAVE SINCE REMAINED BELOW
AVERAGE SINCE THAT TIME. WATER LEVELS DROPPED FROM SEPTEMBER TO LATE
NOVEMBER…AND THEN REBOUNDED A LITTLE IN EARLY DECEMBER…DUE TO
HEAVY RAINFALL FROM LATE NOVEMBER INTO EARLY DECEMBER. VALUES THEN
REMAINED NEARLY STEADY BUT HAVE CLIMBED A LITTLE DURING THE LAST
COUPLE OF WEEKS DESPITE THE OVERALL BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.
STILL…WATER DEPTH IS ABOUT 10 FEET BELOW NORMAL AT THE WELL SITE.
GROUNDWATER LEVELS AT THE MONITORING SITE IN LAWRENCE COUNTY DECLINED
RAPIDLY FROM EARLY SEPTEMBER TO LATE NOVEMBER…BUT ROSE SHARPLY
AFTER RAINFALL IN LATE NOVEMBER AND EARLY DECEMBER. WELL DEPTH VALUES
ARE JUST A LITTLE BELOW THE MEDIAN VALUE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR.

THE OUTLOOK FOR SOIL MOISTURE AND STREAMFLOWS OVER THE NEXT WEEK IS
FOR IMPROVEMENT DUE TO THE EXPECTED RAINFALL.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE…THE NEXT DROUGHT STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED
THURSDAY…JANUARY 26TH.

&&

RELATED WEB SITES…
/USE LOWER CASE/

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR WEB PAGE…HTTP://DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER…
http://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ALABAMA DROUGHT DECLARATIONS…VISIT
http://WWW.ADECA.ALABAMA.GOV/DIVISIONS/OWR/PAGES/DEFAULT.ASPX

FOR INFORMATION FROM THE ALABAMA FORESTRY COMMISSION…VISIT
http://FORESTRY.ALABAMA.GOV/

WILDFIRE INFORMATION FROM THE ALABAMA FORESTRY COMMISSION…
http://FORESTRY.ALABAMA.GOV/FIRE_TOTALS.ASPX?BV=1&S=4

RADAR ESTIMATED PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS CAN BE OBTAINED FROM…
http://WATER.WEATHER.GOV/PRECIP

STREAMFLOWS ARE OBTAINED FROM THE USGS AT…
http://WATERWATCH.USGS.GOV/INDEX.PHP

LAKE LEVELS FOR THE TENNESSEE RIVER LAKES CAN BE OBTAINED FROM
http://WWW.TVA.COM/LAKEINFO/

USGS GROUNDWATER WELL SITE INFORMATION FOR ALABAMA…
http://WATERDATA.USGS.GOV/AL/NWIS/CURRENT/
?TYPE=GW&GROUP_KEY=COUNTY_CD

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…

SOME DATA USED IN THIS STATEMENT WERE PROVIDED BY THE U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE…THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY…THE
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY…AND THE STATES OF ALABAMA AND
TENNESSEE.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS…

FOR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ON THE DROUGHT…CONTACT:
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE
320A SPARKMAN DRIVE
HUNTSVILLE AL 35805
PHONE: 256-890-8503
SR-HUN.WEBMASTER@NOAA.GOV

$$

KDW