Rainfall Record Speculation

| December 20, 2007 @ 7:00 am | 4 Replies

As James pointed out on the Weather Xtreme Video this morning, the weather office can be all a buzz when something big, like a white Christmas, shows even the remotest possibility of happening. I’m one of those standing in the front of the line cheering for a white Christmas – I love snow. But there is another big event shaping up that doesn’t have nearly the appeal of a white Christmas in Central Alabama.

Of course, I’m talking about our drought. The northern two-thirds of Alabama and much of the northern half of Georgia are running 24 to 30 inches below the average annual rainfall that we typically see. The good news is that I’m writing this post with a massive area of rain just west of Alabama. So perhaps we’ll get an inch or more over the next 24 hours to help ease drought conditions – that would be nice. And, we continue to see model projections of an impressive series of waves coming through the upper flow which promise to bring additional rain events to the parched Southeast US.

So where does all of this put us when it comes to annual rainfall records? The table below shows the five lowest annual rainfall totals for Birmingham since 1895. The data for 2007 was through December 19th.

Year Rainfall
2007 27.87
1895 29.00
1896 34.00
1904 34.32
1931 36.14

It appears likely that 2007 will go into the record books as one of the all time driest years in the last 118 years. To get pushed out as one of the driest five years on record, we’d have to see nearly nine inches of rain at the Birmingham airport over the next 12 days. That’s probably not impossible, but it’s also not likely to occur.

Even with the fast moving pattern and weather systems every two to three days, it seems pretty likely that whatever rainfall we get, 2007 will still go down as one of the three driest years ever here.

So bring on the rain … or the snow … I’m ready for either!!



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Brian Peters is one of the television meteorologists at ABC3340 in Birmingham and a retired NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. He handles the weekend Weather Xtreme Videos and forecast discussion and is the Webmaster for the popular WeatherBrains podcast.

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