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SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 2007
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Valley temperatures likely to cool down soon, forecaster says

By Evan Belanger
evanb@decaturdaily.com · 340-2442

For the 10th day in a row Friday, the mercury in Decatur climbed past the century mark, tying a record set in 1952.

But it was not clear
whether the record was broken Saturday.

The National Weather Service in Huntsville reported its Decatur weather monitoring station was out of commission.

“The last we heard, it was some problem with the phone lines,” said Jason Elliot, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

That meant an official temperature was not available Saturday, pending repair or a report from a backup observer.

Elliot did say high temperatures could cool soon — at least a bit.

That’s because an upper-level, high-pressure system that has been parked over North Alabama and most of the Southeast is expected to dissipate slightly during the coming days.

Elliot blamed the heat wave on the pressure system, which he said heats falling air and prevents rain.

“As far as the triple-digit heat, it looks like, cross your fingers, we’re through the worst of it,” he said.

“If anything, the moisture will increase, and it will feel less like what we’ve had and more like what we’re used to, but it will still be hot.”

For the next six days, the Weather Service predicts highs will be either 98 or 99.

One thing the Weather Service is not predicting is a significant amount of rain. For the next week, the forecast shows only a slight chance of isolated showers.

As of Saturday, most of North Alabama was still more than 20 inches below normal rainfall for the year, leading to a drought classification of “exceptionally dry,” the most severe rating in the four-class system.

The drought has destroyed forage crops for cattle, wiped out row crops and damaged trees. Southeast regional revenue losses are estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

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