The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama

Volume 15, Number 11, March 2024

March signifies the beginning of climatological spring (March, April, and May), which for most Alabamians warmer and wetter than normal. As mentioned in last month’s report, March also marks the start of the peak months for the spring severe weather season in Alabama. Fortunately, this March was relatively quiet in terms of severe weather. Only two tornadoes were reported this month, bringing the total for the 2024 year to 10, which is slightly below normal for this time of year.

As mentioned earlier, March was wetter than normal, with 6.89 inches of rainfall reported statewide. This was 0.73 inches above the long-term average of 6.16 inches. The wettest areas were in Alabama's black belt region and north/northwest of the Birmingham metro area, thanks to multiple storm systems throughout the month. The COOP station in Oakman recorded the most rainfall of the month at 12.71 inches. In contrast, most of the drier areas were located in Madison, Morgan, Talladega, and Calhoun counties, with the Talladega 10 NNE station recording the driest location of the month at 4.03 inches of rainfall, with no missing observations.

Temperature-wise, March’s monthly average temperature was 3.0°F warmer than the long-term average of 55.1°F. The warmest weather mostly occurred in the middle of March. Two stations (Eufaula Weedon Field AP & Greensboro) recorded the warmest location of the month at 86°F on the 15th. While most of March was certainly warm, there were many sub-freezing temperatures across the state due to a few bouts of cold weather. The Russellville 4 SSE station and the Sudduth Farms station were tied for the coldest spot of the month, with both dropping to 22°F on the 19th. These freezing temperatures will likely be the last many across the state will see until the fall season, as most of the state has passed the climatological date for the last spring freeze.

At the conclusion of a wet March, drought designations were removed across the whole state (Figure 2). Though the fall 2023 Flash Drought is fully in the rearview mirror, effects of its impacts can still be seen. Winter Wheat acres in Alabama are down 30% from the previous year, and 23% form the 10-year average. This is likely due in part to the dry conditions during the fall planting. Overall, pastures (which suffered the most last fall) had largely rebounded to normal conditions according to the USDA crop conditions and progress report.

As mentioned prior, March was relatively quiet in terms of severe weather. Historically, however, April has been the most active month for severe weather in Alabama. Thus, it is crucial to have a severe weather plan and to be prepared.

Monthly summaries are provided by Dr. Rob Junod, Lee Ellenburg and Dr. John Christy.

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Distinguished Professor, Atmospheric and Earth Sciences
Director, Earth System Science Center
Alabama State Climatologist
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Associate State Climatologist
Earth System Science Center
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Associate State Climatologist
Alabama Office of State Climatology
Earth System Science Center
The University of Alabama in Huntsville