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State sets heat records in September, October

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

The state of Alabama experienced record or near-record average highs for the month of September, according to the National Weather Service.

Cities like Birmingham and Montgomery experienced their second-hottest September on record (behind only 1925), while Tuscaloosa and Anniston saw a new record for average temperature across the month.

The Shelby County Airport, the closest data collection point to Chilton County, recorded an average temperature of 81.6 degrees, setting a new record by surpassing the 80.0 degrees mark set just last year.

The average high was 95.3 degrees, also a record. The previous record was 91.6 degrees in 2016.

This September was also the driest on record for our area, with just 0.38 inches of rain recorded. The old record was 0.70 inches of rain in 2016.

The high temperatures and lack of precipitation have led to levels of drought declared for most of the state and burn bans put in place to help keep fires from starting and spreading.

Just one day into October and Alabama saw more heat records broken.

“We’re continuing to witness history in the making in terms of high temperatures — driven by a dome of high pressure that just doesn’t want to go away and aggravated further by the severe drought conditions,” said the NWS on social media. “We’ll see many locations hit 100° once again today (speaking of Oct. 1), which will shatter records. For reference, the 30 year normal high for Birmingham on October 2nd is 80° and 83° for Montgomery.”

The NWS reported that Andalusia, Montgomery and Oakmulgee each reached a temperature of 101 degrees Oct. 1, which were tied with Meridian, Mississippi, as posting the hottest temperature for the day across the entire contiguous United States.

By comparison, Cut Bank, Montana, posted the lowest temperature for the day of 1 degree, with snow falling across the state.

The light at the end of the tunnel, however is the highs are expected to plummet down into the 70s and 80s by the beginning of next week.

“The end of the record-breaking heat is in sight as we approach early next week, but we just have to get there first,” said the NWS. “Hang in there!”