Drought lingers in northwestern part of Alabama

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 5/16/17

Walker County and northwest Alabama are still officially lingering in a small drought, while southeast and northeast Alabama have essentially returned to normal.

The latest report Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which used data through Tuesday, shows the second-lowest drought level, moderate drought, still hanging over southeast and northwest Alabama. The lowest level, abnormally dry, is seen over central Alabama and other parts of the state.

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Drought lingers in northwestern part of Alabama

Posted

Walker County and northwest Alabama are still officially lingering in a small drought, while southeast and northeast Alabama have essentially returned to normal.

The latest report Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which used data through Tuesday, shows the second-lowest drought level, moderate drought, still hanging over southeast and northwest Alabama. The lowest level, abnormally dry, is seen over central Alabama and other parts of the state.

However, the middle level of drought, severe drought, continues to hang over a tiny fraction of the southeast corner of the state and over extreme west Walker County, east Fayette County and north Tuscaloosa County, as well as the west tip of Jefferson County. The Oakman and Townley areas appear to be affected in the agency’s map.

The area is essentially unchanged from last week’s report. Three months ago, most of Walker County was covered by severe drought. At the time, 24 percent of the state was at that level, versus 1.5 percent over the past two weeks.

In November, most of the state was in at least extreme drought conditions, the second worst stage. At the start of the calendar year 2017, almost 90 percent of the state was in at least severe drought, half of it had reached at least extreme drought, and 19 percent had been in the worst stage, exceptional drought.

Today, no parts of the state are in the two worst stages, with 44 percent of the state not at any drought level. A total of 56 percent is at least in an abnormally dry state, while 28 percent is at least in a state of severe drought, which appears to be over two-thirds of Walker County.

An estimated 1.4 million Alabamians are in drought areas in the state, according to the agency.

In surrounding areas, half of Winston and Cullman counties appear divided between abnormally dry and moderately dry, while most of Marion and Fayette counties are in moderate drought. Most of Jefferson and Blount counties are abnormally dry, while Tuscaloosa County is divided into three levels of drought.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham posted on May 4 that beneficial rainfall had started falling the previous week, averaging 1-2 inches.

“This has resulted in stream flows returning to near normal levels across much of Central Alabama for the time of year,” the agency said at the time.