We finally got a good rain across the Tennessee Valley, but was that enough to help out with the drought? Yes and no. We needed around 10.2 inches of rain to end the drought in East and Northeast Alabama according to Dr. John Christy’s latest analysis on September 28th. In those hardest-hit drought areas we only saw around 0.4” to 1.0” on average; the best rain fell over Madison, Morgan, Limestone, Lawrence, Colbert and Lauderdale Counties: around 1” to 3” on average.
Falkville got the most in North Alabama: 3.12” since Saturday. Hartselle had 2.39 inches, and Wright in Lauderdale County got 2.26 inches in all.
So we got roughly about a tenth of what we need to end the drought.
Droughts don’t begin overnight and they can’t end overnight. If we can maintain a wetter pattern through October, November and December, we can make up the ground we need to end the drought. In addition, you may notice some more significant improvement in your lawns and gardens thanks to this rain. Shallow rooted vegetation tends to respond more quickly to rain events like the one we had today, while deeper rooted vegetation tends to need more rain over a longer period of time to get back to normal.
Recent model guidance suggests near-average rainfall through mid-November; that’s positive, but we’ll need more than ‘normal’ rain to get the job done and finish off the drought before the end of the year.
Sometimes it just takes that first rain event to break us out of a dry pattern and get us back on track with rain. Here’s hoping that’s the case.