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28 Alabama Counties Placed Under Drought Emergency

The declaration is based on a review of current and anticipated conditions and reported impacts.

by The Gadsden Times, Ala. / October 19, 2016

(TNS) - Etowah and surrounding counties are among 28 Alabama counties that were placed under a drought emergency Tuesday afternoon by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ Office of Water Resources.

The declaration is based on a review of current and anticipated conditions and reported impacts, according to a news release from the agency, including rainfall, streamflow, reservoir and groundwater levels. A drought emergency is the most severe category.

“Very little rainfall, above normal temperatures and falling reservoir and groundwater levels have indicated drought conditions have become more severe in many areas, particularly in north, east and central Alabama,” said Tom Littlepage, manager of OWR’s Water Management Unit. “As water levels drop, we strongly urge public water systems and other users of large amounts of water to continue to carefully monitor conditions and implement their drought conservation plans, as needed.”

Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, DeKalb, Jackson, Marshall and St. Clair counties also are under a drought emergency.

The other counties affected are Chambers, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Etowah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Morgan, Randolph, Shelby, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Walker and Winston.

Other areas of the state were moved to a more severe drought status in the updated advisory. Region 2 in west Alabama moved to drought warning status, the second most severe category. Region 5 in southwest Alabama and Region 8 in southeast Alabama moved to drought watch status. Region 7 in south Alabama and Region 9 in coastal Alabama moved to drought advisory status. Region 6 in south central Alabama remained in drought warning status.

The National Weather Service has listed a 30 percent chance of rain for Thursday morning and a 50 percent chance for Thursday night in its forecast. However, the NWS’s forecast discussion calls this “a quick-hitting system” likely to produce well below an inch of rain, and says forecast models indicate a return to a dry pattern.

The OWR serves as the state’s lead office for drought planning, monitoring and response activities. During dry periods, the office works with local water systems, farmers, reservoir operators and industries to encourage water conservation to mitigate negative impacts associated with declining water levels.

“Drought is a slow, silent disaster that can cause water shortages and negatively affect hay, livestock and other industries,” ADECA Director Jim Byard said. “With careful monitoring, we can help to mitigate some of the negative impacts. Our Office of Water Resources will continue to work with the Monitoring and Impact Group and our partners to carefully monitor data, stay in contact with local water systems and issue updated drought declarations as conditions warrant.”

Drought advisories and a list of drought impacts and water restrictions throughout the state are available and updated constantly on ADECA’s website at


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