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July's monthly rainfall total above average

By Evan Belanger 340-2442

It may not sound like much, but 0.04 inches of rain is significant when you're dealing with a drought like the one gripping North Alabama this year.

For the first time in more than six months, the National Weather Service in Huntsville reported monthly precipitation was above normal last month.

About 4.32 inches of rain fell in July, according to the NWS. The rainfall exceeded the established normal total by about 0.04 inches.

While it's not much, the surplus rainfall could signal an end to the exceptional drought that has wreaked havoc on area farms and yards for more than six months.

Overall, total rainfall in July was more than three times greater than the total rainfall recorded in June, according to the NWS.

"Looking ahead, rainfall should be pretty much normal," said Michelle Parcus, a NWS forecaster. "We're still going to have a deficit, but month-by-month things might be normal."

Despite the prediction, July's rainfall did little to impact the overall drought situation.

For the year, most of North Alabama is still about 19 inches below normal rainfall. Since Jan. 1, the NWS recorded less than 16.5 inches total for most of North Alabama.

Parcus says it will take several sustained, soaking showers to make up the deficit, a process that could take several months.

With hurricane season running through Nov. 30, she says, a tropical storm system could help significantly, bringing several inches of much-needed rain to the area.

As of Tuesday, the NWS was tracking Tropical Storm Chantal about 300 miles northeast of Bermuda.

That storm is not expected to make landfall.

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