Tropical Storm Claudette was by no means a strong tropical storm. In fact, it barely qualified as a tropical storm, only getting upgraded shortly after landfall in Louisiana. Despite this, Claudette has had huge impacts, and some of the biggest impacts have been inland flooding. DeKalb county saw some of the heaviest rain Claudette had with at least one weather station just southeast of Fort Payne posting a rainfall total of over 9 and three quarters inches over 24 hours. Another round of showers and storms yesterday bumped the total rain since Saturday up to over 11 inches! That’s well above what we’d consider a “once in 50 year” rainfall event. In fact, it’s almost double.
That’s not just a lot, but incredibly rare. Out of 20 spots where climate data of some sort or another has been recorded in North Alabama, only 4 have recorded a three day rainfall total over 11 inches (Huntsville, Muscle Shoals, Belle Mina, and Hodges) and only one has done it more than once (Hodges). This intense rain led to flash flooding Saturday that unfortunately took the life of one woman. We can take some comfort in the fact that this kind of rainfall is incredibly rare in North Alabama, but the tragic death in Fort Payne is also a reminder to turn around, don’t drown. Flash flooding is especially dangerous at night, because floodwaters can often be more difficult to see.
We’ve got some drier weather in the forecast over the next couple of days. We’ve got more on our rain chances through the rest of the week in our forecast discussion.