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Drought conditions continue to improve

Published 11:58am Friday, February 15, 2013

Meteorologists say cold, drier conditions are expected over weekend

While the early part of this week may have had people singing ‘Rain, rain, go away,’ the recent downpours have downgraded the drought level in Tallapoosa County.

Tallapoosa County falls between “abnormally dry” and “drought–moderate” according to www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu. About a month ago it was still in the extreme drought range.

| National Climactic Data Center

“Conditions have improved dramatically,” said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham. “We’re very close to getting back to almost normal conditions.”

Stefkovich said although areas of east Central Alabama received below average rainfall last year, rainfall is about five inches above normal so far for 2013.

“That has caused a significant reduction of the drought in East Alabama,” Stefkovich said.

For February 7–14 alone, Tallapoosa County saw about five inches of rainfall, according to the NWS Alabama Rainfall Plot.

Stefkovich said the area is still in a wet pattern, with the next chance of precipitation coming Monday night into Tuesday.

Also on the radar is a cold front.

“We’re looking at a shot of cold air to come in – Saturday we’ll have temps that will get up into the mid 40’s, which is pretty cool for this time of year,” Stefkovich said.

While the sun should shine through Saturday, Stefkovich said winds of 15–20 miles per hour will make for a chilly day, and lows will reach 25 degrees Saturday.

With the threat of cold weather comes the possibility of frozen pipes, but Mark Ray with A&M Plumbing had a few tips to prevent pipe problems.

“We really don’t see as many frozen pipes as we used to,” Ray said. “If you do have something that freezes, you can use a hair dryer right on the pipe – it will take a little bit, but you can thaw out a pipe that’s frozen.”

Ray said come people have misconceptions about their pipes freezing.

“Most people think that insulation is designed to keep the pipe from freezing, but it’s not – it only gives you five degrees or less of protection,” Ray said. “Letting the faucet drip will help, especially if it’s not going to be freezing for a long time.”

Stefkovich said the cold spell will be short-lived with temperatures warming back up by Monday.

And while exposed pipes or pipes on an exterior wall are most at risk, Ray said with a short cold snap, even pipes that freeze will probably thaw out by morning.

“Most people are probably going to be okay,” Ray said.

Although freezing temperatures overnight will still be common through March, Stefkovich said warmer weather is on the way.

“We’re quickly going to start seeing temperatures getting a little warmer as weeks go on,” Stefkovich said.

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