A September soaker on the way!


September has been dry in Huntsville: only 0.18″ of rain in the past twenty-two days. It’s not been like that for all of North Alabama and Tennessee, though!

Back on September 13th, it poured in The Shoals (but not from Huntsville east into Northeast Alabama)!

Florence had 4.02″ of rain, and Tuscumbia had 2.94″ that Sunday!

Since then, it’s been dry. We’re not in a “drought,” but we could use some rain!

It looks like we’re getting that rain in the next few days; the question is not ‘will it rain,’ but it is ‘who gets the most rain!?’

It’s all about ‘Beta’

Tropical Depression Beta vs. dry air over Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia: “Beta” will overcome the dryness and bring a lot of rainfall.

The remnants of Tropical Depression Beta move northeast toward Alabama on Thursday and Friday: bringing the humidity back and dumping a lot of rain for some of us while others just get enough to call it a good soaking.

Your rainfall total depends heavily on the track of the leftover low from Beta. If that track is a little farther north then Huntsville, Madison, Decatur, Athens and The Shoals get the biggest rainfall (up to 5″); if it goes a little farther south, then it soaks Hamilton, Cullman, Oneonta, Boaz and Gadsden.

The next two images show essentially the same thing; however, one assumes a more southern track and the other more to the north.

WPC/NOAA rainfall outlook for the next seven days (Tuesday to Tuesday). Image produced at 9:00 PM 9/22/2020

A slight shift northward of 30-50 miles is not a big move to the atmosphere (it’s about 8 miles deep covering the whole planet; that’s big). It is a big move for the impact at your house.

Midday model guidance showed that shift north with more than 5-8″ of rain in Mississippi and over four inches for much of North Alabama.

The truth is somewhere in between these opinions.

While we can’t tell you exactly how much rain you’ll get, here’s the expectation:

  • It’s going to rain. Rain begins in light, spotty showers Wednesday, but it really starts raining (the persistent, heavier kind) through 8 AM Thursday and most likely rains all day long.
  • Most of us in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee will get somewhere between one and two inches of rain at the least; a stripe of very heavy rain will develop dropping up to five inches of rain. We do not know specifically where that will happen just yet.
  • The clouds and rain keep it cool Thursday. Temperatures will hover in the 60s most of the day with a stiff east breeze.
  • Some flash flooding is possible in this situation; be alert! It’s the small details that will matter in determining who is in danger of flooding and who is just having a wet day.
  • This does not look like a severe weather threat; however, tropical remnants like this can and often do generate a few stronger storms that are capable of high winds or a tornado. It’s not a high-probability situation, but it is something to be aware of (don’t be taken by surprise).

Looking for the rest of the forecast? It’s always online at WHNT.com/Weather and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

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