The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama

Volume 4, Number 11, August 2014

You might already have heard, but Alabama's record for consecutive years in which no station saw temperatures reach or top 100 degrees remains unbroken at ... one. (We've done that only six times in more than 100 years, including the summer of 2013.)

After a relatively mild June and July, we had a slightly warmer than normal August with a relative handful of sites hitting or going just over the 100 degree mark. August 6, 2014, was the first 100 degree day in more than two years at an Alabama station. The last time that occurred was 101 degrees reported on August 2, 2012, at both Russellville and Muscle Shoals. Stations reporting 100 or higher in August 2014 were:

Temp     Date    Station

102°              24      BON SECOUR ALABAMA
102°              23      ONEONTA
102°              24      ONEONTA
102°              25      ONEONTA
102°                7      TALLADEGA ALABAMA
101°                6      ANDALUSIA OPP AIRPORT
101°                6      HELENA
100°                7      ANDALUSIA OPP AIRPORT
100°              23      BON SECOUR ALABAMA
100°                8      CLAYTON
100°                9      CLAYTON
100°              25      ENTERPRISE 2 W
100°              23      EUFAULA WEEDON FIELD AIRPORT
100°              23      EVERGREEN MIDDLETON FIELD
100°              24      EVERGREEN MIDDLETON FIELD
100°                8      GAINESVILLE
100°              21      HELENA
100°              22      MONTGOMERY 6 SW
100°              23      MONTGOMERY 6 SW
100°              23      MONTGOMERY AIRPORT
100°              23      OAKMULGEE ALABAMA
100°              23      OPEN POND FTS ALABAMA
100°              24      OPEN POND FTS ALABAMA
100°              24      OZARK FORT RUCKER
100°                8      TALLADEGA ALABAMA
100°              23      TUSCALOOSA ACFD
100°              24      SELMA 13 WNW

All days are in August.  If there is an "ALABAMA" in the name, it is a Forest Service Station (not NOAA or FAA).

So, it seems Alabama saw two mini-heat waves in August: 6th-8th and 23rd-25th.

Lest anyone think this is a long list of high temperatures, the total number of station-days of 100 degrees or higher in August 2007 was 1,119 statewide — about 30 percent of all reports. During August 2007 there were 26 stations that reported maximum temperatures of at least 106 degrees, with the hottest that year being a scorching 109 degrees in Hamilton on Aug. 16! (It should be noted that August 2007 was also the warmest August in Alabama's 100+ year climate record.)

While much of the state was slightly warmer than normal this August, it was only slightly warmer. According to NWS reports, average temperatures this August compared to August norms:

Anniston              ±0.0°
Birmingham         +0.4°
Calera                 +1.1°
Decatur               -0.5°
Dothan                +0.8°
Huntsville            +0.3°
Mobile                +0.4°
Montgomery       +1.2°
Muscle Shoals     -1.2°
Troy                   +0.5°
Tuscaloosa         +0.4°

The average of those eleven stations puts a statewide average at 0.31 degrees warmer than the normal August average, with only Decatur and Muscle Shoals coming in cooler than normal for the month.

As is often the case, warmer summer temperatures mean less rainfall. Of those same eleven cities, only Anniston (+0.15"), Birmingham (+0.34") and Muscle Shoals (+0.77") saw higher than normal rainfall in August. Several places saw significant shortfalls: Dothan was 2.3" short in August, while Mobile was more than four inches below normal in August precipitation.

- John Christy