Archived Story

‘A welcomed rain’

Published 7:47pm Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend precipitation brings relief, but area still under extreme drought conditions

Tallapoosa County’s 90-degree heat streak came to a halt this weekend.

Sunday’s heavy rainfall helped ease the area’s extreme drought conditions and high temperatures, but experts say the precipitation will not have a long-term affect.

“It was definitely a welcomed rain,” said Roger McNeil, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham. “We’ll see some easing of dry conditions but people should keep in mind that it by no means ends the drought. We’ll go back into extreme dry conditions. The weather is cooler though, so that will help.”

McNeil said Tallapoosa County received, on average, one to two inches of rainfall over the weekend, with some areas by the Martin Dam receiving about three inches.

The weather service said the chance of rain decreases through the week, but temperatures should remain cooler with highs predicted in the 70s and 80s and lows in the 50s.

Prior to the weekend precipitation, Lake Martin had only seen 0.13 inches of rain in September and Alexander City had only received 31.93 inches of rain this year.

While rainfall has been low, temperatures have been exceptionally high, giving Alexander City 101 days this year with temperatures above 90 degrees – the hottest summer on record – and placing Tallapoosa County in extreme drought conditions.

McNeil said the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is

updated weekly, has not been updated since the weekend’s rainfall, but that Tallapoosa County is in a position to see a slight improvement after being moved from severe to extreme conditions last week.

He added that although the long-term forecast does not predict the area will recover from the drought anytime soon, tropical systems could potentially help conditions.

“Tropical systems can have an impact, but if there are none it can remain pretty dry,” he said. “We’ll just have to watch. Right now the pattern we’re in is not conducive for a tropical system … definitely the ideal scenario would be to at least have periodic rain to moisten, but if we can’t, at least we’ll have the cooler temperatures.”