A ‘flash drought’ intensifying in the South through early October

The Weather Authority
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This year started out as the wettest on record: 20.78″ of rain in Huntsville in January and February. In the 208 days since February ended, we’ve recorded 22.62″ of rain (the 19th-driest March 1-September 25 period on record). The heat and the lack of rain are leading to a ‘flash drought’ in the region.


Wednesday marked the 90th ninety-degree day of the year in Huntsville and the 26th-straight day above 90ºF in Muscle Shoals. (96ºF was the high at both Huntsville International and Northwest Alabama Regional Airport.)  A few spotty downpours cool it down mainly west of Huntsville and Decatur into Tennessee, Northwest Alabama and Mississippi this afternoon and evening, but most of us are still looking awfully dry and still getting even drier.

We see another chance of some spotty storms on Thursday, and we also expect another brutally hot, potentially record-breaking hot, kind of day: highs in the mid-90s (the record is 94ºF set in 1998). The best chance of a storm Thursday comes near and north of the Alabama-Tennessee state line; individual storms can bring a lot of rain to small areas, but there is no widespread, soaking, ‘drought-busting’ rain anytime in our near future.

Record heat through early next week: As far as late season heat waves go, this one takes the cake! Look for several record high temperatures to fall in Huntsville through next Wednesday.

These are the records; all of them are in ‘danger’ with the heat we have in the forecast:

  • Thursday: 94ºF (1998)
  • Friday: 96ºF (1954)
  • Saturday: 97ºF (1954)
  • Sunday: 94ºF (1955)
  • Monday: 95ºF (1926)
  • Tuesday: 95ºF (1954)
  • Wednesday: 94ºF (1926)

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