Summer storms: heavy where they hit, but uneven in coverage!


Rainfall has been uneven lately, but at least we’ve had some! June has been the driest month at Huntsville International Airport since last September: only 1.56″ on the month so far (about 48% of normal June precipitation). Even early Wednesday, the rain is widespread to the south with not much to the north.

Radar estimated rainfall over the past seven days ending at 10 PM Tuesday

That dryness is not the case for everyone! June rainfall stacks up like this around North Alabama and Southern Tennessee:

  • 4.89″ in Scottsboro
  • 3.75″ in Sylvania
  • 3.31″ in Muscle Shoals
  • 2.91″ in Guntersville
  • 1.95″ in Fayetteville
  • 1.46″ in Athens
A lower chance of rain doesn’t necessarily mean “light” rain! A big, heavy downpour could develop on any day.

How much rain so far this year?

Alabama’s State Climatologist Dr. John Christy is fond of saying that Alabama’s hydrologic system is like a jet engine:

“Our hydrologic cycle is much faster than elsewhere in the country.  Our ecosystem is like an F-15 fighter jet – fast but with a small fuel tank.  In the Midwest with their deep water-holding soils, they are like a long-haul cargo plane, slow but with a big fuel tank.  The F-15 will run out of gas in a hurry and crash – just like our shallow-rooted vegetation.”

DR. JOHN CHRISTY, Alabama’s State Climatologist

For some of North Alabama, the rapid drying of June made an immediate impact on gardens, lawns and agriculture. For others, it’s like the wet pattern that started last October never stopped. Rainfall-to-date in 2020 is still very impressive:

  • 63.84″ in Sewanee
  • 56.72″ in Lacey’s Spring
  • 50.39″ in Owens Crossroads
  • 45.64″ in Florence

All of those in the 50-60″ range would be average for an entire year; even the 45.64″ in Florence would be in the realm of possibility for a year’s worth of rainfall!

Regardless of brief dry spells this summer, we aren’t headed into drought anytime soon.

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

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