Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Birmingham, AL
AXUS74 KBMX 161401 CCA
Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Birmingham AL
855 AM CDT THU MAR 16 2017
... DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSIST ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL ALABAMA ...
SYNOPSIS...The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that Extreme
Drought conditions persist across portions of Central Alabama.
Extreme Drought is now found to the right of a line from near Leeds
to Alabaster to Mccalla to Cottondale to Hagler to near Akron to
Warsaw to Carrollton to Birmingport to Forestdale to Leeds. Moderate
to Severe Drought covers remaining areas roughly north of a line
from Cuba to Folsom to Mertz to Calera to Goodwater to Dickert to
Graham. Remaining areas in south-central Alabama are indicated to be
Abnormally Dry or Near Normal.
The Drought Monitor classifies drought within one of these five
A series of cold fronts brought some rainfall to Central Alabama
during the past week. Cumulative totals ranged generally from about
three quarters of an inch to around two inches with a few localized
higher amounts. Although this did not bring an end to the long term
drought conditions across the area there was some small improvement
to the long term rainfall deficits in a few areas. This has helped
many USGS Stream Gauges in Central Alabama return to normal flows at
least temporarily although a few still remain below normal.
Some Precipitation Amounts (inches) for Central Alabama from January
1st through March 15th...
Normal Precipitation expected (inches) and Departure From Normal
(inches) January 1st through March 15th...
Birmingham 11.94 -0.16
Montgomery 12.86 +4.30
Anniston 12.14 +0.38
Tuscaloosa 13.00 +1.42
Calera 13.41 +1.09
Troy 11.73 +8.36
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported at the
end of February that many water supplies had been replenished and
crops were responding to the increased moisture and warm weather.
Pastures had improved and some producers had adequate hay supplies
to support their herd. Wheat and oats were looking good for the time
of year. Cattle were in generally good condition. Preparations were
being made for spring planting. Some trees were budding out due to
the recent warm weather but this could be bad news due to the
freezing temperatures experienced this week. It is not known at this
time how much the freezing temperatures may have damaged crops
across the area.
FIRE DANGER IMPACTS...
The Fire Danger Risk remains low across Central Alabama with Keetch-
Byram Drought Indices (KBDI) below 100 across most of the area with
isolated areas between 100 and 200. Values above 500 indicate a
Severe Fire Danger.
While the statewide Burn Ban has been rescinded, there remains
concern that many pine trees could be infested with pine beetles and
die due to the drought that has plagued the state. The State
Forester continues to urge people that are doing any outside burning
to follow safety precautions such as not leaving any fire unattended
and having the proper equipment and personnel to control the fire.
This is based on information from the Alabama Forestry Commission.
HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
The latest USGS Stream Gauge Data indicates that stream flows are
currently running near normal across much of Central Alabama for
this time of year following the rainfall during the past weekk
although a few are still running below normal. Periodic substantial
rainfall will need to occur for stream flows to remain at normal or
above normal levels as we move into the spring season.
Most major reservoir pool levels have remained fairly steady during
the past week and remain near their normal winter levels. Some
increase in levels at a couple of the larger reservoirs...
specifically Smith Lake and Martin Lake...continued during the past
week as reservoir operators are slowly bringing these up toward
their summer pool levels. Listed below are current levels for some
of the major reservoirs across Central Alabama and those from March
Reservoir Level for 03/16/17 Level for 03/09/17
Weiss 562.7 562.4
Neely Henry 507.0 507.0
Logan Martin 461.9 461.9
Lay 395.8 395.9
Mitchell 312.1 312.0
Jordan 251.7 251.7
R.L.Harris 787.0 787.0
Martin 486.7 485.2
Smith 509.8 508.9
Bankhead 254.7 254.5
Holt 186.7 186.5
Most pools are near their normal winter levels at the major
reservoirs and have remained fairly steady during the past week.
Although some mostly voluntary water restrictions are still in
effect many water restrictions have been lifted by local water
PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...
Dry and colder weather returned to Central Alabma in the wake of the
cold front that moved across the area early this week with freezing
temperatures widespread across the area during the past two nights.
Dry weather will continue across the area today and Friday but a
chance for some light rainfall will return Friday night into
Saturday morning as another cold front moves over the area. Behind
this front mostly dry weather will return for the remainder of the
weekend into the first part of next week. Rainfall amounts with the
front Friday night and Saturday morning will be less than a quarter
of an inch in most locations of Central Alabama.
The Two Week Outlook...from March 21st through March 29th... calls
for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
The Longer-Range Outlook for April through June is for above normal
temperatures and equal chances for above normal... near normal or
below normal precipitation.
The latest Seasonal Drought Outlook through June indicates that
drought conditions are expected to persist over about the northern
half of Central Alabama.
The next statement will be issued around Thursday March 23rd.