Drought Worsens: high temperatures, lack of rain cause drought expansion

The Weather Authority
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Over sixty percent of Alabama’s population is dealing with some level of drought, and in some cases, it’s the worst we have had this decade, and the primary reason it’s gotten so bad is a strong, persistent, hot area of high pressure that has blocked the storm track’s (jet stream) southward movement.

Data pix.

The largest expansion this week is in The Shoals: particularly in Colbert, Franklin and Lawrence Counties.  The most severe drought conditions are expanding from Jackson and DeKalb Counties westward into Madison and Marshall Counties.  According to State Climatologist Dr. John Christy, we need as much as twelve to thirteen inches of rain to get out of drought conditions in Northeast Alabama.

US Drought Monitor (9/29/16)
US Drought Monitor (9/29/16)

There are some severe agricultural impacts from hay shortages to dried up ponds all over North Alabama and Tennessee.

We also noted some brush fires burning on Sand Mountain Thursday; several of them were visible from our Jack's Camera Network sites in Fort Payne and Rainsville:

This likely becomes a bigger issue going into October which is typically one of the driest months of the year.

Huntsville only recorded 0.47" of rain in September; that's ninth-driest on record.

The forecast for October is not looking very helpful; neither is November for that matter. This is the latest output from the CFSv2 (very long-range guidance):

That forecast is for a deficit of 2-4" around Alabama and Tennessee through October and a deficit of around 1-2" in November.

"Average" rainfall for October is 3.59 inches; November's norm is 4.94 inches.

A drought continuing through the Fall into Winter could set up another 2007-08 level drought in 2017.

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