By Clint Thompson
Drought conditions continue along the Gulf Coast. Mobile and Baldwin counties in southern Alabama are classified in ‘D2’ or severe drought status by the U.S. Drought Monitor. John Cristy, Alabama state climatologist, says June is a “real critical month.” The influx of irrigation being utilized by the state’s farmers will help during these hot and dry periods. But rain is still needed.
“Usually down south, that’s when you get to the maturity of the crop and a lot of things need to happen as long as rain and water is available. If the rain doesn’t come at that time, corn, for example will be hit pretty hard,” Christy said. “Irrigation has expanded down there. We have fewer people that are vulnerable to droughts like this. Statewide, we’re pretty good. It’s just that strip along the Alabama coast that has had a real shortage of rainfall while the rest of us have had quite a bit.”
According to the latest edition of the U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of Washington, Clarke, Monroe and Escambia counties, which are located north of Mobile and Baldwin, are listed as D1 or moderate drought. Even the vast portion of the southern part of the state is abnormally dry.
On the flip side, counties in north Alabama have received more than their fair share of rainfall.
“We had a situation this year where the storm track was very focused. Usually, it’s kind of random,” Christy said. “They were very focused on north Mississippi and north Alabama and Tennessee to the point that several of our stations in that area had the wettest November-to-March totals in their 125-year history.”