Fay brings heavy rainfall with damaging winds

Published 12:35 am Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tropical storm Fay brought damaging winds and copious amounts of rainfall to numerous areas over the weekend, and was threatening to return during the upcoming week.

Charles Burmester, Agronomist at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center, mentioned that most of northern Alabama received approximately one inch of rain, but the total accumulations decreased as you moved closer to the Tennessee border.

Ronnie Davis, County Executive Director in the Henry County FSA office, stated that over eight inches of rainfall was received with very little runoff, allowing the topsoil and subsoil to soak up some valuable moisture. William Birdsong, Extension Agronomist at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, indicated that between two and eight inches of rain had fallen in the area over the weekend, with most of the water absorbed by dry soils.

Average temperatures during the past week fluctuated drastically because of Fay, and varied from four degrees below normal in the southern part of the state to four degrees above normal in north Alabama.

Daytime highs ranged from 88 degrees in Opelika and Union Springs to 96 degrees in Muscle Shoals, Belle Mina, and Hamilton. Overnight lows varied from 57 degrees in Belle Mina and Hamilton to 71 degrees in Mobile.

With the exception of Bridgeport, all weather stations reported receiving rainfall during the past week.

Totals differed drastically depending on location, and ranged from 0.11 inches in Huntsville to 6.75 inches in Union Springs through Sunday morning.

Tropical storm Fay brought isolated rainfall totals close to eight inches to some areas. Troy received 5.78 inches, and Dothan totaled 5.24 inches.

Corn/Cotton/Peanuts/ Soybeans

Crop conditions remained varied, although peanuts and soybeans showed slight improvement thanks to some rainfall during the previous week. Mr. Birdsong noted that some producers in the Wiregrass region had crops that benefited from consistent rainfall and looked outstanding, while others were three days shy of going five weeks without a drop of moisture. Olin F. Farrior, County Extension Coordinator for Escambia County, reported that corn for grain was being harvested at a rapid pace.

Yields were generally good, but some producers had their yields reduced due to stinkbug damage in fields that bordered wheat fields. Birdsong added that some corn stands in the Wiregrass area were blown down because of winds from Fay, but the majority of the crop was unharmed.

Nearly all of this year’s cotton crop had finished setting bolls. Some cotton stands in the south incurred some wind damage and were blown down, but long-term damage was expected to be minimal.

The majority of the state’s peanut crop was in good to excellent condition.

Most stands were expected to benefit from the recent rainfall, but early-planted fields were too far along to experience a helpful boost. Jimmy Todd, County Extension Coordinator for Mobile County, mentioned that some producers in the county were planning to start digging peanuts around Sept. 15.


Many pastures across the state were beginning to show slight improvements, especially in the southern areas of the state.

Henry Dorough, Regional Extension Agent located in Talladega County, indicated that adequate surface moisture has kept forages growing well in most areas, but that a lack of subsoil moisture left many ponds and lakes that livestock use for watering dry.

Jimmy Smitherman, County Extension Coordinator for Montgomery County, noted that heavy rainfall from Fay left many pastures in the county muddy, and some low areas flooded. Fallen trees and winds damaged pasture fences for some producers.