Archived Story

Extreme drought conditions remain

Published 10:50pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Lake Martin area is continuing to see an extreme drought, but rain is expected to return.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor still had the entire Lake Martin area classified in a severe drought, along with areas along the Mobile River Basin in southwest Alabama and extreme southeastern Alabama.

The entire state is experiencing a drought of some severity, and all but 3.3 percent is experiencing a moderate drought or worse.

Jody Aaron, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Alexander City should see some rainfall over the next two weeks.

“The weather patterns are changing,” Aaron said. “We’re starting to see more weather systems and cold fronts move our way. Unfortunately, we may get some strong to severe weather with the rain. It’s good for filling up reservoirs because there’s going to be a lot of runoff, but it won’t do much good for improving soil moisture.”

The weather forecast predicts a chance of rain beginning Sunday and continues through Thursday with the best chance of rain coming Sunday night into Monday. Aaron said the rainfall may not be enough to pull the region out of a drought, but it would keep it from getting worse.

The last time the area was this dry occurred during the drought of 2007, which lasted into 2008. Aaron said he doesn’t know if this current drought could turn out to be that extraordinary.

“The drought of 2007 wasn’t when the drought began – that’s when it culminated,” Aaron said. “There is discussion about when the drought really began. If it wasn’t for the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, those years may have been classified as a drought too. It’s possible the drought could have begun in 2002 or 2001. I’m not sure if we’re dealing with the same situation.”

The Climate Prediction Center also released its winter outlook and the news isn’t good for the Lake Martin area and southern Alabama. Temperatures are predicted to stay above normal. Precipitation is also predicted to be below normal.

Aaron attributed this to the return of La Niña.

“These are typical climate patterns in a La Niña year,” Aaron said. “In the long run, the drought appears like it will continue to persist.”

The dry conditions have caused the fire alert for the state to be continued and burn permits within Alexander City limits are not being issued until the drought conditions improve.

Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 14, there were 1,081 wildfires occurring across the state burning approximately 9,432 acres of land.