Category Archives: Drought

Drought, dryness, fire weather, ridge, desert

Drought Conditions Develop

There isn’t much to say about the weather in the Deep South, unfortunately. A cold front is set to move through the region this weekend, dropping temperatures down about 10 degrees again and making the air outside seem truly fall-like. However, it is going to be a dry cold front. Nothing has changed as far as rain is concerned; there is none predicted as far as the forecasts are made. The Weather Service in Jackson has begun issuing fire weather products for the state, and the office out of Birmingham has issued red flag warnings. Burn bans are also in effect for large areas, though it’s highly inadvisable to burn even if you aren’t officially under a ban. It’s hard to believe that within a half a day’s drive, the Carolinas are getting drenched with the rainfall of a trough and the remains of Tropical Storm Nicole entrained into the cyclone, while we in the Deep South are now officially under drought conditions.

With the state as parched as this, it’s reaching a point where we will look anywhere for something that might send us some moisture—or at least, that has not yet been eliminated as a contender for doing that. Out in the tropics, there is a new system in the Central Atlantic, 97L, probably one of the last to develop in places like that this year. However, while the track and development of this system are still very much up in the air, the 12Z GFS doesn’t seem particularly interested in the disturbance. It does, in the two-week range, show a big, wet cold-core cyclone coming through the Southeast and finally ending the drought. I am going to keep an eye on this model and see if it retains this feature; the models are beginning to show some skill in long-range forecasts. And besides, hope springs eternal.

Fall at Last, But When Will We Have Some Rain?

Over the weekend, an extremely welcome cold front passed through the Southeast, finally giving the record high temperatures and the persistent high pressure system that generated them a kick out the door. No 90s in the foreseeable future. According to Jackson NWS, this should finally begin a fall pattern in which troughs periodically pay the Southeast a visit. The front didn’t make a dent in the drought conditions that have developed over the area in the past month, however. It brought cool temperatures and rainfall to select areas, but most places just didn’t get much. Columbus AFB recorded less than a tenth of an inch for the entire frontal passage. With the ground as parched as it is, this meager water was soaked up immediately. It looks like we’ll have to wait a bit for a significant rain event.

That rain event unfortunately probably will not come from the tropics, though this would be a very fruitful source if it did happen. The Hurricane Center is giving a 40% chance of development to an area of low pressure in the west Caribbean, designated 96L, which is forecast to move into the Gulf.

However, models are all taking this disturbance into South Florida.

Things can change, of course, but it’s uncommon to have this much agreement that close to a landfall and to have a shift of that magnitude.

The next frontal passage will be this weekend, but this front is expected to be dry. It’s soon going to be tempting to have fall bonfires, but I don’t think it’s quite safe to do that just yet!