WEATHER WEDNESDAY | The Drought: 2016 vs. 2019


The month of September was one for the books, with record-breaking heat and very little rain to speak of. The developing drought in Central Alabama has us drawing comparisons to the drought that developed in 2016, that left a third of the state in the worst drought designation. 

While we haven’t reached those levels yet, some of the hallmarks of the developing drought and extremely hot weather are already showing up. Wildfires are sparking all over the place and lakes and reservoirs are starting to look a little less full these days. 

Three years ago, Lake Purdy, which is the primary water source for the Birmingham Water Works, was bone dry in many places. So dry you could walk half a mile on the dry lake bed. The lake hasn’t dipped close to the dangerously low levels from 2016, but it only takes a few more weeks of relatively dry weather for more dry spots will start to develop. In that case, water restrictions may be enforced. 

Then, we have the fire weather danger. In 2016 during the height of the drought, every county in the state saw a wildfire and burn bans were issued for two-thirds of the state. While we’ve seen several large wildfires and lots of smaller ones the last month, burn bans aren’t currently in place. 

So what can you do to help out during these very dry and hot times? First and foremost, try to conserve water however you can. Don’t water your lawn every day, but maybe every other day. And please refrain from any outdoor burning. You need a permit for any large scale burns, so just avoid starting any types of fires and report any wildfires you see. 

There are some indications of rain coming, but it won’t totally bust the drought, so things only look to get worse. And some cooler temperatures are on the horizon too, but we’ll still stay above average for October. Hopefully 2016 doesn’t repeat itself, but we’ll stay on top of the developing drought in Central Alabama and how it could impact you.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.