If we take the rainfall totals for 2018 at their face value, it seems like we’re on track; Huntsville has a deficit of just over an inch, while Muscle Shoals has a surplus of over 5 inches. If we look at just the past 30 days though, almost the entire Tennessee Valley has a deficit. That’s enough time for a minor drought to develop over Northern Alabama.
This is a particularly bad time to fall behind on rainfall, since we’re heading into the driest part of our year. August, September, and October are our driest months of the year with October being the driest on average. It’s this time of year when we typically depend on tropical systems to bring in moisture for rainfall.
That’s exactly what happened earlier this week when Gordon made landfall and brought rain into the Valley Wednesday. What’s left of Gordon is still bringing rain to the Midwest and Ohio River Valley, but it should also supply some moisture for our own rain chances this week.
A cold front will move through North Alabama on Sunday, then stall out in Central Alabama. That keeps it close enough to us to bring rain chances at least through Thursday. As the front weakens each day past Monday, the storms will likely become fewer and farther between. By week’s end there’s a good chance we’ll all have picked up some rain, but it might not be much for some communities.
As rain chances rise our high temperatures will lower and vice versa. Highs for much of the week will be confined to the 80s, but the drier you are on a given day the hotter it will get. Right now it looks like we start to dry out by next weekend, allowing temperatures to pop back into the 90s. The forecast past Thursday however will be dependent on what is currently Tropical Storm Florence, so check back with us for updates.
It’s looking more and more likely that Florence will stay far enough south (near the Carolinas) and push far enough inland, that we’ll get some rain from the system. The farther south Florence moves, the more likely it is that we’ll benefit from the rain bands that bring intermittent heavy showers and storms through the end of the week.
Overall we’re still not looking at soaking widespread rain at any point. In the next seven days we’re looking at 1-2 inches, but that number will vary from one point in North Alabama to the next.