September Update: Drought conditions spread throughout north Alabama

The Weather Authority
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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
1125 AM CDT THU SEP 20 2018

...MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS EXPAND SINCE LAST WEEK...

SYNOPSIS... 
ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR (USDM) VALID TUESDAY, 
SEPTEMBER 18TH, 2018, MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) CONDITIONS HAVE EXPANDED
IN NORTHERN ALABAMA. THE AREA OF MODERATE DROUGHT IN NW ALABAMA THAT
INCLUDES WESTERN PORTIONS OF LAUDERDALE AND COLBERT COUNTIES AND A 
SMALL AREA OF NORTHWESTERN FRANKLIN COUNTY REMAINS UNCHANGED. 
HOWEVER, THE SWATH OF D1 DROUGHT ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL AND 
NORTHEASTERN PARTS OF THE AREA HAS EXPANDED, AND NOW EXTENDS FROM 
SOUTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE BANKHEAD NATIONAL FOREST 
NORTHEASTWARD TO THE GEORGIA AND ALABAMA BORDER ALONG PARTS OF 
JACKSON AND DEKALB COUNTIES. THIS NOW ENCOMPASSES NEARLY ALL OF 
MORGAN COUNTY, THE NORTHERN THIRD OF CULLMAN COUNTY, ABOUT THE 
NORTHERN HALF OF MARSHALL COUNTY, NEARLY ALL OF JACKSON COUNTY AND 
AREAS ALONG SAND MOUNTAIN IN DEKALB COUNTY. SOUTHEASTERN PORTIONS OF 
MADISON AND LAWRENCE COUNTIES REMAIN UNCHANGED IN THE D1 DROUGHT AREA
SINCE LAST WEEK. 

NOTE: PRECIPITATION AND OTHER CONDITIONS (STREAMFLOWS, SOIL 
MOISTURE, ETC.) THAT DETERMINE DROUGHT DESIGNATIONS EACH WEEK FOR
THE USDM ARE BASED ON DATA THAT END AT 6 AM CST EACH TUESDAY. SO, 
ANY PRECIPITATION OR CHANGES IN CONDITIONS THAT OCCURS BETWEEN 
TUESDAY MORNING AND THE ISSUANCE OF THE DROUGHT INFORMATION
STATEMENT (USUALLY ON THURSDAYS) ARE NOT FACTORED INTO THE LATEST 
DROUGHT DESIGNATIONS, BUT WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR THE NEXT WEEK'S U.S.
DROUGHT MONITOR ISSUANCE. ALSO, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THE
DESIGNATION OF DROUGHT CATEGORIES IS A PROCESS THAT UTILIZES 
NUMEROUS DATA FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES ON MULTIPLE SPACE AND TIME 
SCALES, WHICH INCLUDES PRECIPITATION, SOIL MOISTURE, STREAMFLOWS, 
GROUNDWATER, AGRICULTURE, VARIOUS DROUGHT INDICES, AND LOCAL DROUGHT 
IMPACTS.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...
STATE AND LOCAL DECLARATIONS: THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND
COMMUNITY AFFAIRS (ADECA) OFFICE OF WATER RESOURCES HAS NO CURRENT
DROUGHT DECLARATIONS IN EFFECT FOR THE AREA. 

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS: THE USDA CROP AND PROGRESS CONDITION REPORT
HAS NOTED DRY CONDITIONS IN PARTS OF THE AREA OVER THE LAST MONTH, 
WITH MENTION OF STRESS TO GRASSES AND ROW CROPS.

OTHER IMPACTS: REPORTS TO THE USDM DROUGHT IMPACT REPORTER DURING 
THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS HAVE INDICATED DRYING FARM PONDS, WILTING 
VEGETATION, AND EARLY LOSS OF LEAVES ON SOME SPECIES OF TREES, WITH
REPORTS SPECIFICALLY COMING FROM MORGAN AND JACKSON COUNTIES. 

CLIMATE SUMMARY...
PRECIPITATION DEFICITS BEGAN TO BUILD ACROSS PARTS OF THE AREA
DURING THE SUMMER, ESPECIALLY IN THE MONTH OF JULY. DURING THE 60 
DAY PERIOD FROM LATE-JULY TO MID-SEPTEMBER, PRECIPITATION DEFICITS 
TOTAL AROUND TWO TO FOUR INCHES ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA, WITH SOME 
LOCATIONS EXPERIENCING DEFICITS LARGER THAN FOUR INCHES, ESPECIALLY 
IN THE D1 DROUGHT DESIGNATED AREAS. TEMPERATURES DURING THE PAST 60 
DAY PERIOD HAVE AVERAGED AROUND TWO DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL, BUT HAVE 
BEEN MOST ANOMALOUSLY WARM DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, AVERAGING 
SOME FIVE TO SIX DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. 

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...
GENERALLY ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST ACROSS THE AREA INTO
THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK. DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO 
RANGE FROM THE UPPER 80S TO LOWER 90S AT MOST LOCATIONS THROUGH
SATURDAY, WITH LOWS GENERALLY IN THE UPPER 60S TO LOWER 70S. THEN A
SLIGHT COOL-DOWN WILL OCCUR, WITH DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURES GENERALLY 
IN THE LOW TO MID 80S THROUGH WEDNESDAY, AND NIGHTTIME LOW 
TEMPERATURES MAINLY IN THE MID TO UPPER 60S. NORMAL HIGH TEMPERATURES
THIS TIME OF YEAR ARE IN THE LOW TO MID 80S WITH NORMAL LOWS IN THE
MID 50S TO AROUND 60. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE 
EXPECTED TO RETURN TO THE AREA ON FRIDAY, BUT INCREASES IN THE 
COVERAGE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED THIS WEEKEND AS A 
COLD FRONT MOVES INTO THE REGION AND INITIALLY STALLS. SCATTERED 
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL REMAIN IN THE FORECAST THROUGH MID- 
WEEK, BUT THEN A STRONGER COLD FRONT MAY BRING MORE ACTIVITY INTO THE
REGION AROUND WEDNESDAY. DUE TO THE SHOWERY NATURE OF THE 
PRECIPITATION EXPECTED DURING THE PERIOD, RAINFALL AMOUNTS WILL BE 
HIGHLY VARIABLE, BUT SOME LOCATIONS COULD RECEIVE SIGNIFICANT 
RAINFALL TOTALING WELL ABOVE NORMAL THROUGH WEDNESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.

THE 8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FROM THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC), VALID
FOR SEPTEMBER 27TH THROUGH OCTOBER 3RD, FAVORS BELOW NORMAL
TEMPERATURES AND ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR THE AREA. 

THE MONTHLY OUTLOOK FROM THE CPC FOR OCTOBER SLIGHT FAVORS ABOVE 
NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR ABOUT THE SOUTHEASTERN HALF OF THE AREA, WITH
EQUAL CHANCES FOR ABOVE, NEAR OR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE 
NORTHWESTERN HALF. THE PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK SLIGHTLY FAVORS ABOVE 
NORMAL PRECIPITATION. 

THE THREE MONTH OUTLOOK FOR THE OCTOBER TO DECEMBER PERIOD FROM THE 
CPC SLIGHTLY FAVORS ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES, WITH EQUAL CHANCES 
FOR ABOVE, NEAR OR BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK... 
STREAMFLOWS ACROSS THE AREA HAVE EXPERIENCED GRADUAL DEGRADATION
DURING THE LAST MONTH OR TWO, BUT NOT ALL STREAMFLOWS ARE
EXPERIENCING DROUGHT LEVEL FLOWS. NEVERTHELESS, SOME STREAMFLOWS HAVE
SLIPPED INTO DROUGHT CATEGORY STATUS WITH SEVEN-DAY AVERAGE
STREAMFLOW RANKING PERCENTILES BELOW 25%. THESE INCLUDE: BIG NANCE
CREEK (19TH PERCENTILE), SOUTH SAUTY CREEK (19TH PERCENTILE), THE
PAINT ROCK RIVER (20TH PERCENTILE), AND THE ELK RIVER (23RD
PERCENTILE).  

ACCORDING TO THE CPC, THE LATEST DAILY SOIL MOISTURE RANKINGS 
INDICATE THAT SOIL MOISTURE VALUES HAVE FALLEN TO THE 10TH TO 20TH
PERCENTILES ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA. 

THE GROUNDWATER WELL SITE CULLMAN COUNTY, WHICH IS OPERATED BY THE 
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, INDICATES THAT GROUND WATER LEVELS FELL 
BELOW THE MEDIAN DAILY VALUE IN LATE AUGUST, AND HAVE SINCE REMAINED
BELOW THE MEDIAN VALUE. AT THE GROUNDWATER WELL SITE IN LAWRENCE
COUNTY, WATER LEVELS FELL BELOW THE MEDIAN STATISTIC IN MID AUGUST,
AND REMAINED BELOW UNTIL ABOUT SEPTEMBER 10TH. SINCE THEN, VALUES
HAVE HOVERED CLOSE TO NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR.  

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT WEEK IS FOR GENERAL SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT OF 
CONDITIONS DUE TO EXPECTATIONS FOR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION AT MOST
LOCATIONS.  

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE... 
SINCE NO PART OF THE AREA IS UNDER A SEVERE DROUGHT (D2) DESIGNATION
OR WORSE, THE ISSUANCE OF DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENTS WILL OCCUR 
WHEN CONDITIONS EITHER IMPROVE OR DETERIORATE SIGNIFICANTLY. 
HOWEVER, ANOTHER STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED WITHIN THE NEXT MONTH EVEN
IF CONDITIONS REMAIN NEAR THEIR CURRENT STATUS. 

&&

RELATED WEB SITES...(USE LOWER CASE)

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR WEBPAGE: HTTP://DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU

DROUGHT IMPACT REPORTER FROM THE NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER:
HTTP://DROUGHTREPORTER.UNL.EDU/MAP

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER: HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ALABAMA DROUGHT DECLARATIONS, VISIT: 
HTTP://WWW.ADECA.ALABAMA.GOV/DIVISIONS/OWR/PAGES/DEFAULT.ASPX

FOR INFORMATION FROM THE ALABAMA FORESTRY COMMISSION, VISIT:
HTTP://FORESTRY.ALABAMA.GOV

WILDFIRE INFORMATION FROM THE ALABAMA FORESTRY COMMISSION:
HTTP://FORESTRY.ALABAMA.GOV/FIRE_TOTALS.ASPX?BV=1&S=4

RADAR ESTIMATED PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS CAN BE OBTAINED HERE:
HTTP://WATER.WEATHER.GOV/PRECIP

STREAMFLOWS ARE OBTAINED FROM THE USGS HERE:
HTTP://WATERWATCH.USGS.GOV/INDEX.PHP

LAKE LEVELS FOR THE TENNESSEE RIVER CAN BE OBTAINED HERE:
HTTP://WWW.TVA.COM/ENVIRONMENT/LAKE-LEVELS

SOIL MOISTURE LEVELS FROM THE NLDAS CAN BE FOUND HERE:
HTTP://WWW.EMC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV/MMB/NLDAS/DROUGHT

USGS GROUNDWATER WELL SITE INFORMATION FOR ALABAMA:
HTTP://WATERDATA.USGS.GOV/AL/NWIS/CURRENT/
?TYPE=GW&GROUP_KEY=COUNTY_CD

GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF ALABAMA GROUNDWATER ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
HTTPS://WWW.GSA.STATE.AL.US/GSA/GROUNDWATER/REALTIME

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...

SOME DATA USED IN THIS STATEMENT WERE PROVIDED BY THE U.S. 
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE, THE TENNESSEE VALLEY 
AUTHORITY, AND THE STATES OF ALABAMA AND TENNESSEE. 

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...

FOR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ON THE DROUGHT, PLEASE CONTACT:
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE
320A SPARKMAN DRIVE
HUNTSVILLE, AL 35805
PHONE: 256-890-8503
SR-HUN.WEBMASTER@NOAA.GOV

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