The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama
Climatologist

Volume 10, Number 3 - June 2019

Checking the 110 stations that reported temperatures this month, the usual suspects garnered the top temperature readings.  Andalusia and nearby Open Pond topped out at a toasty 102°F on the 4th.  At the other end of the temperature story, the U.S. Forest Service Station at Liri (SW of Mentone) bottomed out at a chilly 45°F on the 14th during a mid-month cool spell.  Nearby Bridgeport and Valley Head were not far behind at 47°F for the coldest day this June.

There were a couple of heavy rainfall events in early and mid-June along the Alabama Gulf Coast that dropped several inches.  Fairhope seemed to be the center of the activity around which we have about 10 reporting stations.  Fairhope 3.7 NNW (3.7 miles NNW of the post office) received 15.47 inches with 8 nearby stations reporting over 10 inches for the month.

The mixture of hot and cold spells this month produced a statewide average temperature of 78.2°F which was only +0.7°F above average.  Alabama’s hottest June was observed 105 years ago (1914) at 83.1°F.  Other years averaging more than 81.0°F were 1897, 1902, 1952 and 2011.  Our coldest June was in 1955 at 73.3°F.

As with most summer months, there were wet places (Baldwin County) and dry places (Tennessee River Valley and the Wiregrass).  However, statewide the total rainfall averaged 4.29 inches, almost exactly the long-term average of 4.28 inches.  The wettest June was in 1989 when tropical storm Allison stalled to our west dropping 10.94 inches statewide.  Surprisingly, the driest June was just one year prior, 1988 at 1.23 inches when most of the eastern half of the country was suffering through a periodic drought.  I remember that June well as the first major media event in Washington DC was held which called attention to the issue of human-induced climate change, pointing to the hot and dry conditions in the East as evidence.  Had this event been held one year later, during a cool and wet June, well, I suspect there would have been less attention drawn.  I was asked to appear on the same day in 1988 on The Weather Channel in Atlanta in which I described the history of heat and drought, and that the 1988 situation was not out of the ordinary when you consider what happened in the 1930s and 1950s across the country.  That was 31 years ago, and the story hasn’t changed for Alabama.

- John Christy
The Alabama State Climatologist