The new year will begin just as the old year ends: Wet.
Forecasts are calling for six inches of rain for the Montgomery area through New Year’s Day as three weather systems are expected to move through the state. Rainfall chances remain elevated, 50 percent or better, through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service office in Birmingham. The River Region remains under a flash flood watch through Friday afternoon, with anywhere from 2 inches to 3 1/2 inches falling for the period.
No severe weather is expected in our area, said Ernie Baggett, director of the Autauga County Emergency Management Agency.
“Flash flooding is a concern, and the high winds may bring some trees down,” he said. “It has been a very wet December, and the ground is saturated. So, some trees may give way. And the rain that falls, the ground can’t absorb it, so it will runoff leading to flash flood worries.”
Folks should keep an eye of the forecast through New Year’s, he said.
“Rapidly changing weather conditions mean just that, rapidly changing weather conditions,” he said. “Just keep informed of what the weather is doing. A weather radio is a good source. There are several apps you can download for your phone or electronic device that will give you up-to-the-minute conditions.”
“Extreme” rainfall amounts are expected through New Year’s Day, with the Montgomery area getting 5.2 inches, said local weather expert Rich Thomas. He calls that estimate “conservative.”
“Rain is a good bet for at least the next six days, through the end of the year into the New Year,” he said “Some models have us getting three inches through Friday. So it’s not hard to anticipate more than five inches through New Year’s.”
It won’t be a monsoon-like event, with constant rain for the period, Thomas said.
“It’s not one storm system, it’s actually three storm systems back to back to back,” he said. “There may be some breaks as these systems move through. I anticipate a break Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon and then another break before the final system moves through on Monday.”
It’s those breaks that may prevent widespread flooding, Baggett said.
“The breaks will allow us to catch up as far as runoff goes,” he said. “They will allow the nuisance areas, where we see water ponding up during heavy rainfall events, to go down.”
According to the NWS Birmingham office the forecast for the coming days looks like this:
- Today: A 90 percent chance of rain with high of 66.
- Friday: A 100 percent chance of rain with a low of 52 and a high of 71.
- Saturday: A 70 percent chance of rain with a low of 54 and high of 64.
- Sunday: A 70 percent chance of rain with a low of 61 and high of 67.
- New Year’s Eve: A 80 percent chance of rain with a low of 56 and high of 72.
- New Year’s Day: A 60 percent chance of rain with a low of 43 and high of 62.
For those keeping score at home, the normal low for the Montgomery area this time of year is 36 with a high of 58. Through Wednesday, there has been 52.35 inches of rain records in Montgomery for the year. That’s about 1.35 inches below normal for the period. For the same period last year the rainfall total was 69.89 inches.
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