News briefs

By Staff
North Alabama getting new weather extremes
North Alabama is about to get hotter, drier, colder and wetter.
Working with the Office of the State Climatologist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, the new Huntsville office of the National Weather Service has extended the official history of weather in North Alabama by more than half a century.
"Previously, the period of record began in 1958 when the NWS office opened at the old Huntsville airport on South Memorial Parkway," said Dr. John Christy, Alabama's state climatologist and a professor of atmospheric science at UAH. "That meant weather extremes were always reported as having occurred only since 1958."
The change in the weather is timed to coincide with the opening of the new NWS office in the National Space Science and Technology Center at UAH. The new office began shadow operations in preparation for going into full operation on Jan. 14, 2003. That is when the new historic data will go into official use.
Madison County's official weather record will go back to 1907 and the first official temperature records taken in Madison. Daily precipitation records go back to 1894.
"Now the climatic impact of the 1930's and the early 1950's will be evident," Christy said. "For example, every day except one in June will now have a new, hotter record high temperature because Junes in the 1930's and early 1950's were much hotter than they have been since 1958."
The official all-time record high temperature for Madison County will be 111 degrees, set back on July 29, 1930, rather than the currently reported record high of 104 degrees set in July 1993.
"We're not going to break as many records, but from now on, where you hear that a weather record is broken in North Alabama, it will mean something," Christy said.
For Madison County, the weather record includes 30 years of data in Madison from 1907-37, then, data from Huntsville for 1937 through 1954, back to Madison through Aug. 1958, then from the old Huntsville airport until 1967 when the NWS office moved to Huntsville International Airport.

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