Rainfall light across many regions, keeping state abnormally dry

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Over half of Alabama continued to suffer from abnormally dry to severe hydrological drought conditions following a week of light showers across most of the state.

While just under one percent of the state was categorized as suffering from severe drought conditions, 17.2 percent was classified in a moderate drought, and 40.7 was abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released for Sept. 16. Comments from respondents in Montgomery, Mobile, and Covington County indicated the need for a soaking rainfall.

Temperatures cooled off in many locations around the state during the past week. Averages varied from five degrees below normal in Thomasville to one degree above normal in Thorsby and Dothan. Daytime highs ranged from 83 degrees in Russellville, Belle Mina, and Cullman and 93 degrees in Dothan. Overnight lows varied between 53 degrees in Muscle Shoals, Russellville, and Hamilton and 64 degrees in Thorsby.

All weather stations reported receiving rainfall during the past week. Total accumulations ranged from 0.01 inches in Marion Junction, Montgomery, and Troy to 1.65 inches over a four-day period in Mobile. Year-to-date precipitation totals ranged from -12.67 inches below normal in Huntsville to a 7.83 surplus inches in Mobile.

Corn/Cotton/Peanuts/ Soybeans

The state’s corn harvest pushed forward during the past week, but lagged drastically behind last year and the five-year average. Alabama’s cotton crop showed signs of improvement during the past week. Nearly half was reported in good to excellent condition. Producers have just begun to crank up their cotton pickers and strippers for this year’s harvest. Progress was well behind last year because wet fields delayed planting in many areas this spring. Charles Burmester, Extension Agronomist at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center, reported that yields on some of the early-picked cotton ranged from 400 to 500 pounds per acre. Peanut producers in the Wiregrass region harvested a mostly good to excellent crop at a pace on schedule the five-year average. Farmers gained ground on their soybean harvest during the past week, but progress lingered nine percent below last year, and six percent below the five-year average. Some producers made insecticide applications to control stink bugs in late-planted fields. Mr. Burmester also mentioned that producers were making desiccant applications to early-planted soybean fields because the plants were slow to dry down. Leonard Kuykendall, Regional Extension Agent located in Autauga County, stated that producers were spent the past week wrapping up corn harvest, defoliating cotton, and preparing fields for small grain seeding.


Pastures across most of the state continued to show slight improvements during the past week. Kenneth Kelley, Regional Extension Agent located in Mobile County, indicated that summer perennial pastures were beginning to taper off, and that many livestock producers started to plant annuals for grazing during the winter months. The state’s livestock remained in fair to excellent condition.