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Humberto's remnants bring Alabama much-needed rain
Most of state still falls under worst category of drought

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Two days of rain provided temporary relief from the summer-long drought in Alabama, but the rain was not enough to change the look of shrunken lakes and streams in most parts of the state.

The National Weather service office in Huntsville recorded just under an inch of rainfall in the Huntsville-Decatur area.

"It's much better than nothing," state climatologist John Christy said Friday after he remnants of Hurricane Humbert moved across the state.

The storm helped bring a second day of rain to many areas of the state and moved into Georgia in time for Friday night football games to kick off on time.

Rainfall amounts ranged from about an inch along the coast to one-half in Montgomery, nearly 3 inches in Birmingham and more than 3 inches in some parts of northwest Alabama.

"Overall it has not been what I hoped it would be," Christy said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says about two-thirds of the state — everything north of a diagonal from Tuscaloosa to Dothan — is in the worst drought category: exceptional.

Some cities in the exceptional area are more than 20 inches below their normal rainfall for the year.

The Huntsville area remains about 20 inches below normal for the year.

Southern Mobile County along the coast is the only part of the state that is not abnormally dry, according to the Drought Monitor.

Scott Unger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Alabaster, said the rain "was just short-term relief" from the drought.

At Alabama Power Co., spokesman Michael Sznajderman said the rain would increase the water flowing into the power company's lakes, which has been practically negligible.

"But it's not going to be enough to see any difference in the lake levels," he said.

Some of its lakes have dry sloughs and docks that no longer reach the water.

Sznajderman said Alabama Power would still go ahead with plans to lower water levels on Jordan, Lay and Mitchell lakes by another 2 feet beginning Monday.

The reduction is to meet the minimum amount of water needed to flow into the Alabama River, he said.

After the rain moved through Friday, the National Weather Service was forecasting partly cloudy weather with temperatures ranging from the high 70s to mid 80s for Saturday's college football games.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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