Drought over — for now

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared an end to Alabama’s almost two-year drought, said Michael Garrison, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Calera.

Whether the absence of drought conditions will last into the spring and summer is the question, Garrison said.

“There’s nothing abnormal about having a drought. What was abnormal was the intensity of this one. It was one of the worst,” he said.

Whether drought conditions return in the spring is the question. The National Weather Service’s forecast for March, April and May calls for a high likelihood of below normal precipitation.

“That’s the thing we have to worry about for the springtime. When winter rolls around with cooler temperatures, the demand for water is so much less. People aren’t watering their lawns and plants and aren’t using water for pools. Trees and forests go dormant, and there is little competition for water,” Garrison said. “We’re not sure what water tables are at and the aquifers, we still probably need to recharge some of those. All the reservoirs are looking good as far as drinking water.”