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Rainfall Review & Fall / Winter Outlook

By: Oscar Fann meteorologist WTVY-TV
By: Oscar Fann meteorologist WTVY-TV

In the story posted Aug 19 'Recent Rains Drenching Drought Worries' we touched on August rainfall for the nearby area.

Here's a little more information.
Going back to June of last year 2009, Dothan (and generally, most of the WTVY-TV area as well) has had the following months AT OR ABOVE average rainfall:
2009 - July, August, October, December;
2010 - January, May, June, August.
The other months were BELOW average:
2009 - June, September, November;
2010 - February, March, April, July.

Notice, it's almost an even split - 8 to 7 in favor of the 'wet' months.
A detailed analysis shows those months that were very wet (150 to 200% of average rainfall):
2009 - July, August, October, December;
2010 - January.
Whereas those months that were very dry (15 to 45% of average rainfall):
2009 - June;
2010 - March, July.

This shows why we were in such good shape - soil moisture wise -heading into this past spring. However, a very dry March and July this year (normally, very wet months) combined with above average temperatures eventually took their toll.

So far, a wet August (already above the average rainfall expected for the entire month) has reversed the recent dry trend.

The short term trend into next week stays wet. Beyond that?

Fall /Winter Early Preview

For now, it appears the fall will have at least slightly above average rainfall. This is based on an above average tropical season. In addition, the excess tropical moisture combined with mid and late fall cold fronts will have the potential for above average rainfall amounts (unfortunately, the risk for severe thunderstorms may also be higher in November and early December).

Temperatures look to fall below average as we go deeper into the fall season. December temperatures look to be below average and possibly well below average at times.

However, winter - especially January & February - may be above average in temperature (still expect short periods of cold weather) but below average in rainfall. March 2011 may be below average in temperature and near normal, or slightly above average rainfall.

As you might expect, these seasonal forecasts are very generalized. They are based on atmospheric patterns expected to form from the current weather patterns. Worldwide (Northern Hemisphere), the upcoming winter looks to be below average in temperature. The one noted exception to the cold trend is the eastern half of the United States, which is expected to be above average in temperature for January and February 2011.

More as we head into fall.

Oscar


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