The Office of Water Resources within the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has lifted the drought emergency declaration across Northern Alabama in favor of a drought advisory. This decision comes after the Alabama Drought Monitoring & Impact Group discussed Alabama’s drought situation Tuesday, January 10th. The group meets every two weeks during severe drought conditions to discuss appropriate actions.
Back in November, most of Alabama was declared to be in a drought emergency. This is the first time since then that improvements in the drought have been marked in their declaration. The group considers many factors other than rainfall such as streamflow, reservoir levels, soil moisture, and other measurements. Streamflow has improved notably thanks to recent rainfall and reservoir and well levels are starting to rebound too.
Now that the impacts of rainfall are starting to be seen, the group felt it appropriate to adjust the declarations across the state. A drought advisory is the lowest level declaration and includes all of Northern Alabama except Cullman Cherokee, and Etowah County. Those three counties remain under a drought warning, which is only one step down from the drought emergency previously declared.
As of the most recent Drought Monitor, extreme drought remains in Eastern Alabama where up to 9 inches of rainfall would still be needed to end the drought. No part of Alabama is in the highest level of drought, or ‘Exceptional’ drought, at this time.