Our weather has been absolutely perfect lately. I'm talking cool, crisp mornings followed by warm, dry afternoons. That will change in the days ahead, but honestly, I'm not complaining. In fact, I argue that rain is a good thing.
Abnormally dry conditions becoming a slight drought in northeast Alabama
It sure has been dry (and warm) in the Tennessee Valley throughout April and the first week of May. Despite the recent "blackberry winter", temperatures were well above average in late April, and only a paltry amount of rain fell during that time.
For example, from April 15 through April 30, rain was observed for a mere 5 days within that time span; even then, the total accumulated amount was not even half an inch (0.46 inches, to be exact).
Although early April was wetter compared to late April, it still wasn't enough: Huntsville ended the month with a 2.08 inch deficit, and the lack of April showers will eventually put a strain on May flowers if the rain continues to hold off.
That strain is already showing up in the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, which updates every Thursday from data accumulated every Tuesday.
This week's Drought Monitor shows that abnormally dry conditions are developing in northeastern Alabama as well as much of eastern Tennessee.
A D1 Moderate Drought has also been observed in portions of Marion, Hamilton, Bradley and Polk counties in Tennessee, as well as extreme eastern portions of Jackson, DeKalb and Cherokee counties in Alabama.
Beneficial rain on the way
Although May has started off on the dry side (only 3 days of rain over the course of the first 8 days), the forecast calls for a return of scattered showers and storms on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Despite the stormy, soggy forecast, this is certainly good news: Heading into the summer seasons with a large rainfall deficit will stress Tennessee Valley farms, gardens and yards, as well as the ecosystems that thrive in our rivers and lakes. Rain is certainly a good thing when it falls in a moderate amount!