The Alabama Climate Report

Brought to you by the Office of the Alabama
Climatologist

Volume 13, Number 2- May 2021

The cool spring temperatures and near average rainfall continued from April into May for most of the state. The exception is that the central part of Alabama experienced above average rainfall for the month.  The highest rainfall total for the central part of Alabama occurred on the 4th, where multiple waves of rain and thunderstorms occurred throughout the day and then during the late-afternoon/early evening hours a more organized line of thunderstorms continue to add to the rainfall total. Many stations in central Alabama reported between five to seven inches of rain during this event! As a result of this event, roughly 90 stations recorded their wettest day in May on record. Some noteworthy stations with 80+ years of data that broke their wettest May day on record include West Blocton(1940-2021, 6.75 in.), Montevallo (1893-2021; 4.65 in.), Sylacauga (1950-2021; 4.68 in.), Calera (1900-2021; 4.24 in.), and Walnut Grove (1941-2021 ; 3.58 in.).

Overall, as stated prior, the monthly rainfall was almost average, with 4.56 inches of rain falling across the state, being only 0.32 inches above the mean. Despite the rain on the 4th inundating central Alabama, the Foley 7.4 SW station in Baldwin County recorded the most rainfall for the month at 11.19 inches. However, Shelby County recorded the most rainfall for the month from the county perspective at 7.2 inches.

Temperature wise, the statewide average temperature was 1.5°F below the 20th century average. Unlike last month, no stations recorded freezing temperature but seven stations recorded 40°F or below with the stations in Rock Mills, AL and DeSoto State Park sharing the title of the lowest temperature of the month at 38°F. May can also be quite hot as Alabama experienced this year toward the end of the month. There were 66 stations across Alabama that recorded temperatures at or above 90°F at least once during the month of May. The title of the hottest temperature of month goes to Andalusia-Opp airport at 96°F on the 25th.

The "official" start of the Atlantic hurricane season starts with the end of May. This hurricane season is expected to be above normal according to NOAA Climate Prediction Center with 13-20 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes (defined as Cat 3 or higher). This forecast is very similar to last year but experts do not expect another historic active season that was seen in 2020. Regardless of how much activity is predicted, all coastal residents/businesses should take proper precautions every season as it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. More information on how to prepare here: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes .

 

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