The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama
Climatologist

Volume 13, Number 5 - August 2021

Statewide, August’s weather was slightly warmer and much wetter than normal. Relative to the 20th century average, the temperature was 0.7°F above the normal of 79.3°F, and the rainfall was 2.82 inches above the normal of 4.34 inches. August was the 6th wettest August on record statewide.

Temperature-wise, August broke the pattern of cooler than normal conditions experienced since April, at least in the mean temperature. August, however, continued the pattern we saw all summer with cooler than normal average daily high temperatures and warmer than normal average daily low temperatures. In other words, we had cooler days and warmer nights compared with the long-term average. The main driver behind theses temperatures was the reoccurring arrival of tropical moisture that suppressed daytime heating and nighttime cooling. Nevertheless, Alabama had several hot spots with 54 stations reaching 95°F or hotter at least once. Andalusia-Opp Airport station recorded the hottest spot of the month at 99°F on the 19th. On the other end of the temperature spectrum, a station in Russellville recorded the coldest value of the month at 56°F on the 4th.

August continued the wetter than normal conditions experienced since March 2021. Two tropical system contributed to the bulk of the rainfall that fell across Alabama. Tropical Storm Fred inundated southeast/east Alabama with rainfall from 16th to 17th. Two weeks later Hurricane Ida drenched the gulf coast and western Alabama. Measurable rainfall reached all parts of the state with Ida. Multiple stations set daily precipitation records from these tropical systems. In addition to all the rainfall, Ida was responsible for several tornadoes along the gulf coast and in southeastern Alabama.

September marks the end of climatological summer and the beginning of climatological fall. How did the summer of 2021 stack up against other summers in Alabama? The average temperature for the summer was a smidge cooler than normal by 0.1°F. The summer average daily high temperature was 2.1°F colder than normal which ranks as the 15th coldest summer statewide. The summer average daily low temperature, on the other hand, was 1.9°F warmer than normal which ranks as the 8th warmest statewide. This disparity is to be expected (described above) given that this summer ranked as the 2nd wettest summer on record at 9.36 inches above normal! Looking ahead into fall the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts Alabama as equal chances for above normal, near normal, and below normal for temperature and precipitation. In other words, Alabama has an equal chance of experiencing above normal, near normal, and below normal conditions for temperature and precipitation statewide. The following tables state what is normal for Alabama and the 4 major metropolitan areas relative to the 1991-2020 reference period for each fall month.  So, with this guidance we should be prepared for anything to happen.


 

CONTACT:

Dr. JOHN R. CHRISTY
Distinguished Professor, Atmospheric and Earth Sciences
Director, Earth System Science Center
Alabama State Climatologist
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
256-961-7763
christy@nsstc.uah.edu
Dr. ROB JUNOD
Assistant State Climatologist
Earth System Science Center
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
256-961-7743
rjunod@nsstc.uah.edu
LEE ELLENBURG
Associate State Climatologist
Alabama Office of State Climatology
Earth System Science Center
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
256-961-7498
wle00001@uah.edu