Alabama escapes drought’s grip

Published 9:35 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

Last year at this time, a majority of the state was still in the midst of a multi-year drought that had drained state reservoirs, lowered state rivers, forced cities to restrict water and forced state farmers to grimace.

Today, the state is officially out of the drought, and the forecasts continue to call for rain.

“As far as ground water and surface water, we are in good shape,” Chilton County Extension Agency Horticulturist Bobby Boozer said. “And, we have a few forecasts for rain in the coming days.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor placed 77 percent of state still within a drought this time last year, with over 25 percent still listed in extreme drought.

This year, not only is there not any extreme drought conditions, but none of the state is listed as “abnormally dry;” the lowest designation on the monitor.

The monitor, which was released Thursday, is the first time since March 2006 the state has been completely free of all drought conditions.

In an Associated Press report Friday, state climatologist John Christy said it appears Alabama has emerged from one of the worst droughts of the last 1,000 years.

Christy said the drought that affected north and central Alabama since 2007 is similar to the one that dried up the Black Warrior River in 1839 and the one that struck in 1542.