Archived Story

Recent rains chip away at drought

Published 12:13pm Friday, January 25, 2013

The first of the year brought heavy rains, which ended D4 (exceptional) drought conditions in Tallapoosa County.

Thanks to recent intermittent rains, the county is continuing to make slow but steady progress toward downgrading the drought conditions even more. Current seasonal drought outlooks, which measure the drought tendency from now until the end of April, predict drought conditions to continue with some improvement.

Mary Kiser, meteorologist in Birmingham, said the recent rains were enough to cause flooding in the western parts of the state and ease conditions here in Tallapoosa County.

“It helped,” Kiser said. “The thing is, however, only so much can be absorbed.”

Over the past 30 days, some parts of the county have experienced above-average precipitation amounts. Normal rainfall amounts for this 30-day period would be about 4-5 inches.

“Some parts of the county got 2-3 inches, but the very northern tip got 6-8 inches,” Kiser said.

Heavy rains in the northern tip of the county were enough to cause a small area to slip into D2-D4 drought. But Kiser said the amount of rainfall is only one part of the equation.

“One big soaking rain won’t end an agricultural drought – it has to get eaten away a little bit at a time,” Kiser said. “When you have a downpour, more goes into runoff.”

The good news, however, is that there is more rain forecasted on the horizon.

“We have a front that is pushing through the area with some precipitation behind it,” Kiser said.

Forecasts are calling for freezing rain in counties to the north, as close as Talladega County. The Alabama Department of Public Safety has issued a winter storm roads advisory, but Kiser said temperatures should remain above freezing in Tallapoosa County.

“We don’t expect the rainfall to be real heavy – it might end up dropping about 0.25 inch of rain between (this) afternoon and (tonight),” Kiser said. “After that, we don’t expect to have another decent rain until the middle of next week.”

Current forecast models are calling for a 50 percent chance of rain today, then Kiser said things should dry out over the weekend.

More precipitation is expected to move into the area Tuesday, with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms early.

The chance of rain will increase overnight and into Wednesday, which current forecast models are predicting a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.