Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Huntsville, AL

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AXUS74 KHUN 072117
DGTHUN
ALC049-071-089-095-TNC051-103-142130-

Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Huntsville AL
317 PM CST Thu Nov 7 2019

...Drought Conditions Continue to Improve in the Tennessee
Valley...

Synopsis...
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor valid Tuesday, November 5th
2019, drought conditions have improved one category again in all
areas of the Huntsville County Warning and Forecast Area. The
area of Severe Drought (D2) present in parts of northeastern
Alabama and a small area of southern Franklin County, TN last week
has improved one category to Moderate Drought (D1). Likewise, the
area of former D1 conditions in north-central and northeastern
Alabama, and in southern Middle Tennessee has improved one
category to Abnormally Dry (D0) status. Locations under a D1
designation status now include areas from Grant in Marshall
County, northward through the Scottsboro and Skyline areas, then
northward to far south-central portions of Franklin County, TN.
Another separate area of D1 drought exists in northern portions
of DeKalb County from around Fort Payne and Sylvania,
northeastward through Valley Head, Mentone and Ider. Please see
the U.S. Drought Monitor web page (web address included in the
Related Web Sites section below) for further information,
including a graphical depiction of this week`s Drought Monitor.

The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies drought within one of these
five categories:

D0...Abnormally Dry
D1...Moderate Drought
D2...Severe Drought
D3...Extreme Drought
D4...Exceptional Drought

Temperatures were climatologically hot for September and to start
the month of October. September 2019 finished as the 3rd warmest
September on record at Huntsville and 2nd warmest at Muscle
Shoals. Many record high temperatures were then set in early
October, including all-time record highs for the month as
temperatures reached 100 degrees on some days. During this same
period, rainfall was well below normal across most of the area,
with many of the worst drought-stricken locations receiving just
5-10 percent of normal rainfall. This led to the rapid
development of drought conditions across the area. This trend
continued into early October, but then rainfall began to return
to the area late in the first week of the month with the passage
of a cold front. More regular rainfall and cooler temperatures
over the last several weeks have helped to improve drought
conditions considerably. Rainfall has been around two to six
inches above normal since early October, with some parts of the
worst drought-stricken areas in northeastern Alabama having
received the most rainfall during this period.

Streamflows have improved markedly due to the recent rainfall.
The average weekly streamflow at the Paint Rock River for
example, was at the 26th percentile of historical streamflows for
this period a couple of weeks ago, but the weekly average has
improved to the 80th percentile as of today (November 7th). The
lowest streamflows in the area had generally been along Sand
Mountain, but those have improved significantly too. South Sauty
Creek and Town Creek, which were below the 15th percentile with
respect to historical streamflows for this time of year a couple
of weeks ago, have now improved to the 74th and 76th percentiles,
respectively.

Soil moisture analyses indicate significant improvement over the
last few weeks, with values finally approaching near normal in the
worst drought-stricken areas in the east. In those areas, soil
moisture daily ranking percentiles are now around the 50th
percentile.

Summary of Impacts...
Agriculture: Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
relates that farmers had been reporting significant impacts
mainly to range and pastureland in September and early October.
Producers also reported that they had been supplementing feed and
hauling water for livestock and were purchasing hay well ahead of
schedule. Farmers have reported that a third cutting of grasses
for hay was not possible this year due to the dry conditions.
Others reported that later harvested corn and soybeans would be
significantly reduced for some areas. In Moore County Tennessee,
corn and soybean yields were reported down 10 to 20 percent from
last year. Due to recent rains, producers have reported an
improvement in conditions lately though. Recent rains have
allowed for some planting of grasses, but it is feared it may be
too late to help much with pastures as freezing conditions have
already occurred in some locations and a hard freeze is expected
areawide next week.

Fires: Wildfire activity reached a peak in late September and
early October, but has decreased significantly over the last
few weeks. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which had values over
600 in portions of north central and northeastern Alabama in
October, but has improved considerably over the last couple of
weeks. Values are now around or below 300 at most locations, but
are around 300 to 400 in parts of northeastern Alabama.

Drought Mitigation Actions...
On November 7th, 2019, the Alabama Department
of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) declared Jackson,
DeKalb, Marshall, Morgan and Madison Counties (eastern portion of
Region 1) in a Drought Watch. Similarly, Cullman County, which is
a part of Region 3, was changed to a Drought Watch. Both areas
had previously been in a Drought Warning per the October 17th
statement from ADECA. According to the Alabama Drought Management
Plan, when under a Drought Watch, water managers are urged to
carefully monitor water resources and implement water conservation
measures as needed.

On October 22nd, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) lifted
a Fire Alert, which was issued for all of Alabama in late
September. The rainfall during the middle of October was
considered adequate to reduce the risk sufficiently, and the AFC
has begun issuing permits for outdoor burning as usual. See the
Alabama Forestry Commission website for more information (included
in the Related Web Sites section below).

In the state of Tennessee, burn permits were being required weeks
earlier than usual this year (normally on/after ~October 15th). A
burn permit will be required to start an open air fire within
five hundred feet of any forest, grassland, or woodland through
May 15th of next year. See the web link containing information
about burn permits in the state of Tennessee in the Related Web
Sites section below.

Local Drought Outlook...
Rainfall is expected to total around one half to one inch through
next Thursday, November 14th. This will range from slightly below
normal to near normal for a weekly total for this time of year.
Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to average below normal over
the period, especially next week. A very dry air mass of Arctic
origin is expected to enter the region next week and may cause
some enhanced drying of soils and fuels. Given all factors, the
lingering D1 drought status in the eastern part of the area may
remain. However, the suite of drought related data will be
examined early next week for any necessary changes in drought
designations.

The 8-14 Day Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
valid for November 15th through the 21st strongly favors below
normal temperatures for the area. The precipitation outlook
favors near normal precipitation.

The outlook for November from the CPC favors below normal
temperatures for about the western half of the area, with equal
chances for below, near or above normal temperatures for the east.
The precipitation outlook indicates equal chances for below, near
or above normal precipitation.

The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the CPC for the
period from October 17th through January 31st indicates that
improvement in drought conditions is expected, with drought
removal likely for much of the area during the period.

Next Issuance Date...
Since no portion of the area remains under a D2 drought
designation or worse, further drought statements are not planned
at this time. A drought statement will be issued again as
conditions warrant.

&&

RELATED WEB SITES...
Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following web addresses:

US Drought Monitor:
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

US Drought Information System:
http://www.drought.gov

NOAA Drought Page:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Drought

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

For information about burning and permits in the state of
Tennessee: http://burnsafetn.org

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

ADDITIONAL RIVER INFORMATION...

National Weather Service:
http://water.weather.gov

US Geological Survey:
http://water.usgs.gov

US Army Corps of Engineers:
http://www.usace.army.mil

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
The Drought Monitor is a multi-agency effort involving the
National Weather Service and National Centers for Environmental
Information, the USDA, state and regional center climatologists
and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this
statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA observation sites,
state cooperative extension services, the USDA, USACE and USGS.

CONTACT INFORMATION...
If you have questions or comments about this Drought Information
Statement, please contact:

National Weather Service
320 Sparkman Dr.
Huntsville AL 35805
Phone...256-890-8503
sr-hun.webmaster@noaa.gov

$$

KDW



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