With little rain in the forecast and the rain deficit increasing, the drought conditions continue to worsen in North Alabama.

When the latest drought monitor update was released Thursday morning, ‘Extreme Drought’ conditions are now being observed across North Alabama.

Due to the extreme drought conditions, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a ‘Drought Disaster Declaration’ for eleven primary counties in Alabama and fifteen contiguous counties. The counties highlighted in red above are the primary counties under the declaration.

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Under this declaration, farmers who live in the counties highlighted above, or listed below, are eligible to be considered for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loan assistance. Farmers will have eight months from when the declaration was released to apply and the FSA.

For more information on the loans, you can visit the website. To find a local USDA office click here.

Eleven counties are included in the primary category: Butler, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Madison, Marshall, and Morgan counties. These join the five counties already under the drought disaster, Baldwin, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, and Monroe.

Fifteen counties are included in the contiguous category: Blount, Calhoun, Cleburne, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Etowah, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Marion, Monroe, Walker, Wilcox, and Winston.

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Drought Comparison to 2016:

This Fall season has been dry, with many seeing a rain deficit of five to six inches since September 1. When looking at the year-to-date rainfall, for Huntsville specifically the deficit is nearing seven and a half inches. With little rainfall expected in the forecast, the ‘Extreme Drought’ conditions across the area are likely to worsen in the coming weeks.

Local drought conditions continue to worsen

When comparing the current drought conditions to 2016, while we are seeing widespread extreme drought there are no spots of exceptional drought. ‘Exceptional Drought’ is the worst condition we could experience and with little rain in the forecast, this will likely occur. At this point in 2016, far Northeast Alabama was experiencing the worst drought conditions compared to the widespread conditions we are seeing this year.

Stick with the Weather Authority for the latest information on drought conditions.