Weather Blog: Are We in A Drought?

In this evening's weather blog, drought is discussed, and why the Tennessee Valley is not in one despite the lack of rainfall that has come with the hot tem...
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Our weather pattern over the last several days has been one that is hot and dry. We’ve been incredibly above average, and we really haven’t seen much in the way of any rainfall. We actually haven’t seen any measurable rainfall at HSV since May 16th. That warrants the thought of a drought? Are we in a drought? Are we about to be in a drought? Those questions will be answered in this evening’s blog. 

The latest updated drought monitor answers the first question pretty easy. No, we are not in a drought. The far western sections of Lauderdale, Colbert, and Franklin Counties are listed as “Abnormally dry”, but that’s about the extent of it. Now, as far as how the lack of rain is hurting the crops that have already been planted I’m not sure as that’s out of my realm of expertise. The obvious “plants need water” tells me that the farmers would love a good soaking right now. 

So, we’re not in a drought, but why not? We haven’t seen any rain, so we should be in a drought. Well, that’s not how this works. Droughts look at past rainfall. So sure, if this pattern of no rain continues through the long-term then we could find ourselves under worse drought condition at some point in the future. 

I want to look at something that I don’t normally use. This is an image showing a “30-day percent of normal rainfall” Defining that as: What percentage of rainfall have we seen in terms of what we would normally see? Throwing some numbers in there to simplify it I can say that if a normal 30-day rainfall total is 1” and we’ve seen 0.25” than our 30-day percent of normal rainfall would be 25%. 

Across the Tennessee Valley, everyone is sitting at 65% – 97%. Therefore, we’re not in a drought because we’ve seen the rain that we would normally see, it just all came at once.