Auburn received its first measurable rain in over a month early this week. The rain event was by far the most significant rain the area has seen in months.
The area received 1.68 inches of rain Tuesday and was expected to receive up to an inch Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
Monday received only a trace of rain, which isn’t enough to measure, said Tara Goggins with the weather service. The area last received rain Oct. 16 with 0.57 inches, she added.
Lee County was under a Tornado Watch late Wednesday morning and into the afternoon, and several other areas of the state received tornado watches and warnings Tuesday and Wednesday.
No hazardous weather is expected Thursday through Tuesday, though Goggins urged people to remain weather aware.
Low rain chances will return to the area Saturday and chances will increase by Sunday, potentially extending rain into the beginning of next week, Goggins said.
The week’s rain amount falls short of what’s needed to lift the statewide “No Burn Order,” or Drought Emergency Declaration, Gov. Robert Bentley issued in early November, said Chambers County forester Matthew Lowe. The order prohibits all outdoor burning.
The east and central areas of the state are more than 10 inches below its normal yearly rainfall, Lowe said, adding that the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a warm and dry winter.
“We’d need at least 14 inches, I’d say, before we get back into normal,” Lowe said, noting that there were still 13 fires throughout the state Tuesday despite the rain.
The U.S. Drought Monitor’s Nov. 22 report records about 70 percent of Lee County in extreme drought conditions with the remaining 30 percent in exceptional drought conditions.
Last month, the Auburn Water Works Board implemented mandatory water restrictions in response to the drought conditions.