Public Information Statement

Issued: April 8, 2007

...February & March 2007 Weather & Climate for Central Alabama...

Two bouts of severe weather affected Central Alabama during this period. Severe thunderstorms moved into Central Alabama during the afternoon hours on February 13th. Severe thunderstorms were observed from approximately 3 pm through 9 pm. Penny to baseball size hail was reported in several counties and many automobiles sustained damage. The largest hail fell in Tuscaloosa county where tennis ball to baseball size hail was observed in a few locations.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale was implemented at the beginning of February. The new EF Scale was designed to rate tornadoes on a scale from zero to five similar to the previous scale, but the wind speed ranges have been altered to be more representative of the damage observed. The EF Scale has taken additional variables into account which would make the tornado strength estimate more accurate. Four tornadoes occurred on February 13th and were rated on the new EF Scale, 2 were EF0`s and 2 were EF1`s. These tornadoes touched down in Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Hale, Perry and Autauga Counties. Several structures were damaged and numerous trees were snapped off along these tornado damage paths.

A high risk of severe thunderstorms was posted for all of Central Alabama on March 1st. This high risks included the potential for strong to violent tornadoes. As it turned out, a tornado outbreak produced tornadoes in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Nine tornadoes were confirmed by National Weather Service surveys conducted throughout Central Alabama. An EF4 tornado touched down in Wilcox and Dallas Counties and was on the ground for approximately 15 miles. The damage was rated an EF4 near Millers Ferry where numerous homes were significantly damaged or destroyed. Although the damage in Dallas County was on the order of EF1, the tornado event was rated with the greatest damage that occurred anywhere along the continuous path. Three EF2`s were assessed in Lowndes, Montgomery, Russell, Lee and Winston Counties. Five EF1`s were surveyed in Barbour, Shelby, Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, and Fayette Counties. Golf ball to baseball size hail also accompanied the supercell thunderstorms as they moved through Central Alabama.

Most locations across central alabama experienced rainfall deficits for February and March. Even with the beneficial rain measured on the 31st, many locations went 15 days without rain. In fact, most locations measured rain only on the 1st, 15th and 31st during the wettest month of the year statistically. This just increased the already dry conditions as deficits were also observed in January. March is typically one of the wettest months of the year and these deficits will have agricultural, hydrologic, and fire weather impacts. The US Drought Monitor has upgraded a large part of Central Alabama into the D2 drought category, which is severe drought. This area roughly covers the northwest half of Central Alabama. This drought index incorporates measures from the Palmer Drought Index, soil moisture models, weekly streamflow measurements, short and long term drought indices and precipitation. D2 Severe Drought means that some crop or pasture losses are possible, water shortages may occur and some water restrictions may be necessary. Area rivers, streams and reservoirs have been running well below normal and serious negative impacts will be possible later in the year if rainfall amounts do not increase. The risk for wildfires remains high due to lack of soil moisture. Many Central Alabama counties were placed under a Fire Alert by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The Climate Prediction Center Outlook for April has an equal chance of above, below or normal precipitation amounts and temperatures. The three month outlook for April, May and June has an equal chance of above, below or normal precipitation amounts and has above normal temperatures. Although some improvement is possible in the D2 Severe Drought area, it looks as if the improvement will be rather slow.

The upper level pattern during February was characterized by a large trough across the eastern half of the United States. This trough gradually transitioned to more zonal flow toward the second half of February. While the trough was dominate, high temperatures across Central Alabama were below normal before rebounding in the second half of the month. Low temperatures were generally below normal the entire month as the trough brought reinforcing shots of polar air down from the north. No record highs or lows were experienced in February.

March was characterized by above normal high temperatures and low temperatures. The upper level pattern held all the colder air well north of the area. Temperatures started off just above normal, but the temperatures over the last ten days of the month soared to near record levels. The pattern transitioned to a cut-off low out west and an unseasonably strong ridge over the Southeastern United States. Several locations were ever so close to that 90 degree mark for many days in a row. Between the 20th and the 31st, several days of 88 to 89 degrees were observed and many record highs were tied or broken during the period...and in some instances these temperatures were very close to the all time highs for March.

Unofficial temperature and precipitation data for selected sites;

Birmingham
February 2007
Highest Temperature 75 on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 20 on the 16th
Average High Temperature 56.1
Average Low Temperature 33.1
Average Monthly 44.6
Departure From Normal -2.2
Precipitation 2.56
Departure From Normal -2.89
Highest Wind Gust 39 mph on the 24th
Birmingham
March 2007
Highest Temperature 87 on the 25th & 29th
Lowest Temperature 26 on the 5th
Average High Temperature 73.6
Average Low Temperature 49.2
Average Monthly 61.4
Departure From Normal +6.9
Precipitation 1.02
Departure From Normal -5.08
Highest Wind Gust 33 mph on the 1st

 

Montgomery
February 2007
Highest Temperature 80 on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 21 on the 17th
Average High Temperature 62.8
Average Low Temperature 35.6
Average Monthly 49.2
Departure From Normal -1.3
Precipitation 3.30
Departure From Normal -1.70
Highest Wind Gust 38 mph on the 25th
Montgomery
March 2007
Highest Temperature 89 on the 29th
Lowest Temperature 30 on the 5th
Average High Temperature 76.9
Average Low Temperature 48.9
Average Monthly 62.9
Departure From Normal +5.00
Precipitation 2.07
Departure From Normal -4.32
Highest Wind Gust 49 mph on the 1st

 

Tuscaloosa
February 2007
Highest Temperature 80 on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 21 on the 17th
Average High Temperature 62.8
Average Low Temperature 35.6
Average Monthly 49.2
Departure From Normal -1.30
Precipitation 3.30
Departure From Normal -2.15
Highest Wind Gust 40 on the 24th
Tuscaloosa
March 2007
Highest Temperature 87 on the 29th
Lowest Temperature 25 on the 5th
Average High Temperature 75.7
Average Low Temperature 45.4
Average Monthly 60.5
Departure From Normal +2.90
Precipitation 1.16
Departure From Normal -5.21
Highest Wind Gust 41 on the 1st

 

Anniston
February 2007
Highest Temperature 76 on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 19 on the 3rd & 17th
Average High Temperature 56.6
Average Low Temperature 30.9
Average Monthly 43.8
Departure From Normal -3.50
Precipitation 2.10
Departure From Normal -2.70
Highest Wind Gust 36 on the 24th
Anniston
March 2007
Highest Temperature 88 on the 25th
Lowest Temperature 23 on the 5th
Average High Temperature 73.3
Average Low Temperature 45.5
Average Monthly 59.4
Departure From Normal +4.50
Precipitation 2.13
Departure From Normal -4.15
Highest Wind Gust 31 on the 1st

 

Calera
February 2007
Highest Temperature 76 on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 22 on the 3rd & 16th
Average High Temperature 57.0
Average Low Temperature 33.8
Average Monthly 45.4
Precipitation 2.84
Highest Wind Gust 39 on the 24th
Calera
March 2007
Highest Temperature 86 on the 25th
Lowest Temperature 29 on the 5th
Average High Temperature 73.8
Average Low Temperature 48.1
Average Monthly 61.0
Precipitation 0.50
Highest Wind Gust 41 on the 1st

 

Troy
February 2007
Highest Temperature 79 on the 28th
Lowest Temperature 19 on the17th
Average High Temperature 62.1
Average Low Temperature 34.2
Average Monthly 48.2
Precipitation 2.15
Highest Wind Gust 36 on the 17th
Troy
March 2007
Highest Temperature 88 on the 25th & 29th
Lowest Temperature 25 on the 5th
Average High Temperature 76.1
Average Low Temperature 46.5
Average Monthly 61.3
Precipitation 1.56
Highest Wind Gust 38 on the 1st

 

Unofficial February temperature and precipitation data for selected sites;

 

February 2007
Location Highest Temp/Date Lowest Temp/Date Precipitation
Alexander City 75 on the 23rd & 28th 20 on the 16th & 17th 2.38
Centre 71 on the 22nd & 23rd 14 on the 1st 1.26
Centreville 73 on the 23rd & 28th 19 on the 3rd & 17th 2.72
Clanton 74 on the 23rd & 28th 20 on the 16th & 17th 2.72
Demopolis 74 on the 23rd 22 on the 16th & 17th 2.25
Fayette 75 on the 22nd 20 on the 1st & 4th 3.23
Hamilton 77 on the 22nd 12 several times 4.14
Haleyville 73 on the 28th 14 on the 16th 3.32
Heflin 68 on the 28th 16 on the 17th 2.37
Helena 76 on the 28th 21 on the 3rd, 16th & 17th 2.78
Lafayette 77 on the 28th 15 on the 17th 2.43
Pinson 77 on the 28th 17 on the 3rd 2.72
Prattville 77 on the 28th 20 on the 16th 3.55
Rockford 76 on the 28th 16 on the 17th 2.78
Selma 76 on the 28th 23 on the 17th &18th 2.45
Sylacauga 75 on the 28th 19 on the 17th 3.43
Talladega 71 on the 23rd 17 on the 17th 2.96
Thorsby 72 on the 23rd & 28th 23 on the 1st, 3rd & 4th 2.98
Union Springs 75 on the 28th 18 on the 17th & 18th 3.43

 

March 2007
Location Highest Temp/Date Lowest Temp/Date Precipitation
Alexander City 89 on the 26th 28 on the 5th 2.02
Centre 87 on the 26th & 27th 22 on the 6th 1.54
Clanton 87 on the 26th & 30th 27 on the 5th 1.47
Demopolis 85 on the 26th & 27th 27 on the 5th & 6th 0.60
Hamilton 90 on the 30th 17 on the 5th & 6th 0.60
Haleyville 85 on the 31st 29 on the 17th 0.80
Heflin 87 on the 27th 25 on the 5th 1.83
Lafayette 87 on the 25th 20 on the 6th 2.22
Pinson 91 on the 25th 21 on the 5th 1.80
Prattville 86 on the 25th 29 on the 5th 0.59
Rockford 87 on the 25th 26 on the 5th 0.73
Selma 87 on the 26th & 27th 30 on the 5th & 6th 1.42
Sylacauga 86 on the 25th, 29th & 30th 22 on the 4th & 5th 2.44
Talladega 87 on the 26th 23 on the 5th 1.18
Union Springs 86 on the 26th & 30th 26 on the 5th & 6th 3.25

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