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December 19, 2014

After year’s wet start, area sees abnormally dry month

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Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014 5:05 pm | Updated: 5:20 pm, Fri Aug 1, 2014.

After a year and a half of record rainfall, the Anniston area had a historically dry July, according to the National Weather Service.

Anniston recorded just 0.57 inches of rain in July, about 4 inches less than average, and well below the 12.7 inches recorded in July 2013 during the area’s wettest year on record.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of central Alabama is currently “abnormally dry,” but Mary Johnson, director of news services for the Alabama Farmers Federation, said there’s a lot of variation in the levels of rain throughout the region, even within Calhoun County.

“In Alabama in the summer we can get a quick pop-up shower and that will help farmers who are right there,” Johnson said. “Or it might happen where the weather is monitored, and so you don’t take into consideration other parts of the county are going through a drought.”

Johnson said farmers in Calhoun County have reported varying levels of concern about crops in July. A farmer in Eastaboga, Delle Bean, told Johnson she had to move her cattle to a hay field because their feeding field had dried up. Meanwhile, Doug Trantham of Trantham Farms in Alexandria said his crop of cotton and corn looks the best it has in years, and he’s used less irrigation than normal.

“We had so much rain from January to June this year, so that’s really helped,” Johnson said. “It’s really brought up the moisture level in the soil.”

For the Calhoun County Highway Department, the combination of little rain and unseasonably mild temperatures has allowed crews to catch up on projects, said County Engineer Brian Rosenbalm.

“It’s been perfect,” Rosenbalm said Friday. “When it rains so much, it just makes it impossible to get anything done, but we’ve been really moving since June.”

Rosenbalm said that in July, his crews completed a widening project on Cedar Springs Road and started a bridge replacement project on Martin Luther King Drive in Hobson City. Neither project could have gone ahead without a little cooperation from the weather, he said.

Steven Jones with the Alabama Forestry Commission’s office in Jacksonville, said that despite the lack of rain, this summer has been quiet for forest fires. Typically the commission sees more problems in the fall and spring, and he expects that will be the same story this year.

“The rain we had earlier kind of kept the ground and debris moist,” Jones said. “And less people are out in the woods this time of year, which helps.”

July might have not seen a lot of weather, but August promises to bring a little more rain. The forecast for this weekend, according to the National Weather Service, calls for thunderstorms in Calhoun County.

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