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Chilton County almost out of drought

Tropical Storm Fay was a drought buster for the state of Alabama.

According to the Chilton Research and Extension Center, the county received 6.08 inches of rain from the feeder bands of the storm. That brought the monthly total to 8.99 inches.

That beneficial rainfall has dramatically improved Chilton County’s drought situation. Now, the county has been classified as abnormally dry according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. This is the first time the county has not been classified in at least a moderate drought in more than a year.

Drought conditions have also improved statewide from the storm. State climatologists have said every square foot of Alabama received some rain this week.

“Widespread rain with as much as 15 inches falling in some places will do that for you,” said John Christy, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the state climatologist, in an Associated Press story.

Christy said the drought in the summer of 2007 was so severe that underground moisture levels may not be back to normal yet in some areas. Christy said the good news was that Fay left no part of Alabama, from Mobile to Huntsville, untouched.

“I’ve looked at the radar and every square mile of Alabama got a pretty good dose of rain,” Christy said. Depending on where it hits, Christy said it’s possible that Tropical Storm Gustav, which is churning toward the Gulf of Mexico, could provide the “second of a one-two punch” of rainfall to end the drought.

Now, only four percent of the state is experiencing a severe drought, and only 18 percent is in a moderate drought. Just over half of the state is experiencing dry conditions, while southern Alabama is in no drought at all.

– The Associated Press contributed to this story.

– Brent Maze can be reached at brent.maze@clantonadvertiser.com.