2000 Weather Year in Review

The deep south experienced the third year in a row with warmer and drier than normal weather. The most significant weather event occurred late in the year, as Alabama bore the brunt of nature's severe weather. December 16 turned out to be the deadliest day in the United States as a result of 12 tornadoes in Alabama that produced 12 deaths. Most of those deaths occurred when an F4 tornado, the strongest in the US in 2000, tore through Tuscaloosa. The next most significant event was an ice storm that paralyzed parts of northeast Alabama on January 22-23.

While everyone would agree that it was a hot dry summer, here are some heat facts for the year. Several locations in west Alabama recorded more than 25 days with temperatures over 100 degrees. The Hamilton and Vernon areas recorded Alabama's hottest temperatures of the year with Hamilton observing 108 degrees and Vernon 109 degrees on August 30th. It is very rare to see temperatures that hot in Alabama as those temperature are seen less than once every 25 years.

How dry was it during the critical growing season? Very dry. Records indicate the period from May 1 to October 31 were the driest on record for the state. Huntsville recorded just 10.64 inches of rain during the 6 month period, the driest growing season on record. Birmingham recorded 13.31 inches, also the driest on record. Montgomery recorded 15.30 inches of rain from may through October, the third driest on record. The only drier growing season rains for Montgomery were 1954 and 1968. In addition the yearly rainfal for Huntsville was the third driest on record and Montgomery recorded the fourth driest year on record.

The last part of November and the month of December were much colder than normal, as a result, there were several instances of snow across the state. However, the biggest snow event across Alabama in the year 2000 was a 3 to 5 inch snow storm across western Alabama on January 28.

Here are some specific facts for the main cities in the northern two-thirds of the state:

Location Hottest Coldest Wettest Days Over 100
Huntsville 102 August 17 13 December 20 3.58" March 19 2
Birmingham 103 July 19 12 December 20 4.69" March 10 8
Montgomery 102 August 18 15 December 20 5.96" September 1 14

Even with the hot summer, a cool end to the year resulted in the near average annual temperature across the state.

City Mean Temperature for 2000 Mean Temperature Departure from Normal Total Rainfall for 2000 Total Rainfall Departure from Normal
Huntsville 61.7 plus 1.6 42.91 minus 14.25
Birmingham 62.5 plus 0.2 50.05 minus 4.53
Montgomery 65.4 plus 0.4 37.95 minus 15.48

Here are the top 5 years of record for each city:

Huntsville (records since 1958)
Warmest Coldest Wettest Driest
1998 - 63.4 1976 - 58.2 1989 - 73.58 1981 - 41.81
1991 - 62.5 1979 - 58.8 1975 - 72.97 1968 - 42.43
1999 - 62.4 1983 - 59.1 1990 - 72.26 2000 - 42.91
1965 - 62.1 1968 - 59.3 1991 - 70.26 1965 - 42.99
1959 - 61.9 1981 - 59.5 1983 - 67.39 1999 - 45.58
Birmingham (records Since 1900)
Warmest Coldest Wettest Driest
1921 - 66.1 1983 - 60.2 1916 - 81.82 1904 - 34.32
1933 - 65.5 1976 - 60.3 1961 - 76.48 1931 - 36.14
1927 - 65.5 1966 - 60.5 1903 - 76.21 1943 - 36.86
1922 - 65.3 1968 - 60.7 1980 - 75.36 1908 - 39.52
1938 - 65.1 1969 - 60.8 1948 - 71.45 1954 - 40.66
Montgomery (records Since 1910)
Warmest Coldest Wettest Driest
1927 - 68.0 1976 - 62.4 1929 - 78.25 1953 - 26.82
1933 - 67.8 1983 - 63.5 1912 - 77.89 1931 - 34.44
1921 - 67.8 1969 - 63.6 1989 - 75.47 1968 - 35.46
1922 - 67.5 1996 - 63.6 1983 - 75.47 2000 - 37.95
1911 - 67.3 1968 - 63.7 1975 - 72.98 1914 - 37.99

Here are some preliminary numbers regarding severe weather days for Alabama in the year 2000:

  • Days with hail >= 0.75 inch ... 28
  • Days with wind damage or wind speeds >= 50 kts ... 48
  • Days with tornadoes ... 9
  • Days with flash floods ... 6

The numbers of tornadoes across the state 43, 12 of which occurred on December 16. Normally Alabama experiences 21 tornadoes a year.

As we close out the year on a cold note...we at the National Weather Service wish you all the best for 2001.

 


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