2002 Weather Year in Review

Most of the state was well below rainfall averages for 2002. Over the first eight months of the year, most locations observed significant deficits. During the last quarter of the year, a moderate El Nino and Tropical Storm Isidore brought much needed rain to the area. Most locations were at or above normal rainfall during the period September through December. Birmingham actually finished the year with 64. 41 inches of rain, which was more than 10 inches above normal. The remainder of the area carried deficits that ranged from 5 to 15 inches. The dry conditions would have been much worse if not for the wet conditions experienced toward the end of 2002.

A warmer than normal late summer and early fall helped bring yearly temperature averages well above normal. Anniston, Birmingham and Huntsville were one degree or more above the yearly temperature average. A late season heat wave occurred in early September. Many locations reported record highs in the upper 90s. However, none of the larger cities broke the century mark.

The coldest temperatures of the year were measured on January 4th and 5th and also on February 28th. During these two periods, temperatures dropped into the middle teens.

With a mild winter, snow was hard to find across the area in 2002. However South Central Alabama, including Montgomery, received snowfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches on January 2nd and 3rd. On February 5th and 6th, some light accumulations of snow and ice were recorded in Northeast Alabama. Dreams of a White Christmas came true for some North Alabamians this year. A trace of snow fell early on Christmas Day and provided a dusting on roofs and cars.

There were 17 tornadoes across North and Central Alabama, which deviated very little from the normal of 16. The state of Alabama observed 26 tornadoes, which was slightly above the average of 22. Of the 17 tornadoes across North and Central alabama, 11 occurred on one day. The November 10th Tornado Outbreak was the most significant weather event in 2002.

This was the third year in a row that significant severe weather occurred during the secondary severe weather season, November and December. Numerous warnings were issued for North and Central Alabama on November 10th, including 58 Tornado Warnings and 20 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. Of the 11 tornadoes which touched down, two of these, the Carbon Hill and Saragossa Tornadoes, were categorized as F3 tornadoes with estimated winds of 158 to 206 mph. There were 12 fatalities and millions of dollars worth of damage on November 10th.

The 2002 Atlantic Hurricane Season produced only four hurricanes due to a strengthening El Nino. However, twice the normal number of tropical systems affected the United States. One of these storms was Tropical Storm Isidore. Isidore wreaked havoc on Alabama with high winds and significant rainfall. Heavy rains associated with this tropical storm resulted in above normal rainfall amounts across North and Central Alabama in September.

Lightning greatly affected North and Central Alabama during the months of July and August. There were six deaths and several injuries during this time frame.

Preliminary numbers for severe weather in 2002:


Days with Severe Weather
Days with Tornadoes.............................................................................................................6
Days with Wind Damage or Wind Speeds 58 mph or greater................................................50
Days with Hail greater than .75 inches...................................................................................33
Days with Flash Floods........................................................................................................11

Additional tornado facts and information can be found in the Alabama Tornado Database.

Additional severe weather information can be found in the Storm Data Section.

Some specific facts for selected cities in the northern two-thirds of the state:


Location
Weather Elements Huntsville Birmingham Montgomery
Hottest Day Sep. 10...99 Sep. 5...99 Sep. 10 &11...99
Coldest Day Jan. 4...14 Jan. 4...15 Feb. 28...17
Wettest 24 Hour Period Sep. 25-26...2.70" Sep. 21-22...3.88" Jul. 11...3.41"
Wettest Month Jul....6.38" Sep....9.94" Jul....7.68"



Location
Weather Elements Anniston Muscle Shoals Tuscaloosa
Hottest Day Aug. 6...99 Sep. 10...97 Sep. 10,11...99
Coldest Day Jan 4-5, Feb 28...16 Jan. 4...14 Jan 4, Feb 28...17
Wettest Day Jan. 19...2.91" Sep. 26...2.84" Oct 28...3.76"
Wettest Month Dec....7.59" Jan....7.83" Jan...6.78"



Location
Weather Elements Decatur Calera Troy
Hottest Day Several Days...96 Aug 6...99 Jul 18,19...98
Coldest Day Jan 4, Feb 28...16 Feb 28...19 Feb 28...17
Wettest Day Nov 5...2.03" Sep 22...4.67" Mar 20...2.78"
Wettest Month May...5.68" Sep...8.70" Mar...6.49"



City Mean Temperature for 2002 Mean Temperature Departure from Normal Total Rainfall for 2002 Total Rainfall Departure from Normal
Huntsville 61.9 plus 1.3 50.68 minus 6.83
Birmingham 63.3 plus 1.0 64.41 plus 10.44
Montgomery 65.5 plus 0.5 38.96 minus 15.81

Here are the top 5 yearly records for selected cities:

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



This table compares rainfall amounts from previous years with the current year.
The current year's data has a green background.
The 30 year averages are shown just below the current year's rainfall with a yellow background.

    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Anniston 2000 5.76 2.57 4.13 5.80 2.90 3.01 3.64 1.94 1.43 1.78 7.21 1.29 41.46 -11.42
  2001 4.14 2.98 9.23 5.21 4.92 6.39 4.29 3.26 4.30 2.37 2.60 3.56 53.25 +1.32
  2002 6.04 2.21 3.58 3.13 2.40 2.32 2.74 2.30 7.55 4.76 5.03 7.63 49.69 -2.24
1971-2000 30 yr avg 5.34 4.80 6.28 4.87 4.16 4.14 4.49 3.35 3.32 2.87 4.20 4.11 51.93
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Birmingham 2000 5.72 2.17 10.67 8.19 0.88 2.89 4.62 2.20 1.66 1.26 8.14 1.84 50.24 -4.34
  2001 5.23 4.35 8.43 7.30 5.25 7.53 3.61 7.38 6.26 2.43 4.20 4.76 66.73 +12.74
  2002 6.02 2.88 6.47 3.02 4.15 5.27 7.72 1.60 9.94 5.46 4.65 7.23 64.41 10.43
1971-2000 30 yr avg 5.45 4.21 6.10 4.67 4.83 3.78 5.09 3.48 4.05 3.23 4.63 4.47 53.99
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Huntsville 2000 4.24 2.61 5.76 8.40 1.29 5.04 1.31 1.16 1.81 0.01 7.63 3.63 42.89 -14.29
  2001 5.60 4.57 6.43 3.52 7.31 7.03 8.14 4.45 3.50 3.77 3.53 6.31 64.16 +6.65
  2002 4.98 2.26 5.82 1.71 5.93 1.85 6.38 2.19 6.02 3.45 3.95 6.14 50.68 -6.83
1971-2000 30 yr avg 5.52 4.95 6.68 4.54 5.24 4.22 4.40 3.32 4.29 3.54 5.22 5.59 57.51
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Montgomery 2000 4.04 1.88 3.22 1.64 0.78 2.13 1.69 2.39 7.50 0.79 6.88 5.01 37.95 -16.82
  2001 3.86 3.99 12.14 3.00 4.69 1.93 2.88 4.87 2.02 2.18 2.96 3.10 47.62 -7.15
  2002 2.82 2.25 5.77 1.22 0.88 1.31 7.68 2.59 3.83 2.56 2.88 5.17 38.96 -15.83
1971-2000 30 yr avg 5.04 5.45 6.39 4.38 4.14 4.13 5.31 3.63 4.22 2.58 4.53 4.97 54.77
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Muscle Shoals 2000 4.40 2.17 3.93 8.06 1.81 3.70 4.91 0.43 0.80 t 6.54 4.10 40.85 -13.00
  2001 5.31 6.52 4.25 4.85 5.45 6.62 8.80 4.86 3.68 4.60 3.02 5.15 63.11 +7.31
  2002 7.83 1.98 7.54 1.27 5.51 3.23 5.53 2.95 5.51 4.83 3.39 5.91 54.77 -0.32
1971-2000 30 yr avg 4.97 4.46 6.21 4.43 5.30 4.90 4.52 2.96 4.30 3.22 5.09 5.44 55.80
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Tuscaloosa 2000 5.61 2.83 7.70 8.65 0.44 1.81 2.97 0.76 2.01 1.75 10.04 4.68 49.25 -5.65
  2001 5.82 3.73 6.36 2.32 3.53 4.37 2.37 6.46 8.88 4.95 5.35 6.02 60.16 +2.92
  2002 6.78 3.78 3.86 1.95 2.35 3.26 2.62 2.86 6.47 5.43 4.50 6.31 50.17 -7.07
1971-2000 30 yr avg 5.72 5.07 6.37 5.10 4.55 4.20 5.71 3.70 3.54 3.47 4.84 4.97 57.24
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Decatur 2001 5.48 4.54 5.75 2.91 6.32 7.32 3.13 4.51 5.44 3.46 3.30 6.18 58.34
  2002 4.38 2.03 5.66 1.83 5.68 1.51 4.21 3.61 4.60 3.05 3.74 5.80 46.10
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Shelby County 2001 4.62 3.94 8.96 4.64 6.2 8.8 2.4 7.88 5.58 2.58 2.55 5.56 63.71
  2002 7.95 2.61 5.41 3.47 3.70 2.35 2.79 3.23 8.70 1.72 5.57 7.48 55.16
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Departure
Troy 2001 3.98 1.91 14.71 4.32 1.61 10.03 3.32 6.69 2.47 1.55 4.50 2.78 57.87
  2002 2.95 2.98 6.93 2.79 3.10 2.08 6.07 3.04 2.56 4.67 5.40 7.00 49.57


This table compares average temperatures from 2001 with the current year. The current year's data has a green background.
The 30 year averages are shown just below the current year's rainfall with a yellow background.

    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Anniston 2001 44.4 51.1 50.6 64.3 70.0 75.8 79.1 78.2 71.1 61.6 57.7 50.5 62.9
  2002 46.8 44.7 54.7 65.5 69.7 77.2 81.0 81.0 77.0 66.7 50.0 43.0 63.1
1971-2000 30 yr avg 44.7 47.4 50.4 60.8 69.4 76.4 80.0 79.5 72.8 62.8 53.5 46.1 62.0
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Birmingham 2001 40.1 51.0 49.7 64.5 70.5 75.3 80.0 78.5 71.5 60.5 58.6 49.3 62.5
  2002 46.9 44.5 54.5 69.2 70.2 76.9 80.6 81.0 77.6 66.9 50.5 44.7 63.6
1971-2000 30 yr avg 41.5 45.7 54.7 62.0 69.4 76.3 79.8 79.0 73.4 62.5 53.1 45.2 61.9
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Huntsville 2001 37.2 47.5 47.7 63.8 69.5 74.3 78.9 77.4 70.2 58.7 55.0 46.8 60.6
  2002 44.2 43.1 52.5 65.1 68.5 78.2 80.2 79.7 77.0 64.8 48.2 42.4 62.0
1971-2000 30 yr avg 38.8 43.1 51.9 60.8 68.4 75.8 79.0 78.3 72.2 61.2 51.5 42.9 60.3
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Montgomery 2001 43.6 54.7 53.2 65.8 72.0 76.9 81.1 80.0 73.6 62.5 60.3 51.5 64.6
  2002 49.4 47.0 57.6 67.8 72.4 78.8 81.8 81.4 79.5 69.8 53.5 46.8 65.5
1971-2000 30 yr avg 46.1 49.8 57.2 64.7 71.9 78.7 81.3 80.6 76.5 65.8 56.6 49.5 64.9
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Muscle Shoals 2001 37.4 47.1 48.2 64.5 69.3 74.8 79.3 77.7 70.5 58.5 55.0 47.0 60.8
  2002 44.2 42.2 51.6 64.4 67.4 77.2 80.3 79.7 76.5 63.9 48.2 42.2 61.5
1971-2000 30 yr avg 39.8 40.6 52.8 60.5 57.6 76.4 80.2 79.0 72.9 61.5 51.5 43.2 59.7
 
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Tuscaloosa 2001 41.5 51.9 51.3 65.8 71.2 77.1 81.4 80.1 73.0 60.9 58.1 50.2 63.5
  2002 47.2 45.6 55.3 66.7 70.8 78.3 81.8 82.0 79.2 68.6 52.1 45.3 64.4
1971-2000 30 yr avg 45.2 49.8 57.5 63.9 71.9 78.6 82.0 81.3 76.2 65.1 55.3 47.9 64.6


The following table shows the number of days the high or low temperature
was equal or above/below a given temperature.

Location # of days greater than
or equal to 90oF
# of days greater than
or equal to 95oF
# of days less than
or equal to 32oF
# of days less than
or equal to 20oF
Anniston 62 17 74 7
Birmingham 59 8 56 6
Decatur 72 14 76 7
Huntsville 71 12 71 10
Montgomery 93 18 47 4
Muscle Shoals 60 11 68 9
Shelby County 83 19 41 3
Troy 75 10 53 3
Tuscaloosa 87 28 51 5
Produced by Patricia Hart, Krissy Hurley, and Mark Linhares.

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