We call them ‘scattered.’ Sometimes we refer to them as ‘unfair’ or ‘unequally distributed.’ Those descriptors still don’t really paint a great picture of how strange the rainfall patterns can be around Alabama and Tennessee in the summertime.
Take this map for example. It’s a map of how much rainfall we’ve had in the past 30 days relative to average. Western Lauderdale County? Four to five inches above normal. Northern Madison County? Almost three inches below normal or ‘average.’ Average June rainfall, by the way, is 4.62″ in Huntsville.
So, some have had over 8″ of rain in the past month, and some have had little more than one inch. Put yourself in the forecaster’s shoes for a moment and ask the question: ‘how do you really describe that?!?’ The picture is worth a thousand words. Scattered storms like this are 100% ‘expected’ but about 99.9% unpredictable when it comes to the precise location, duration, and how much rain you will get.
That’s where our ‘chance’ of rain comes into play.
Tuesday’s chance: 20% of at least 0.1″ of rain or greater. That means we are confident a few spotty downpours will develop in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee; however, they will be few in number leaving the odds at any one spot very low.
The chance goes up to 30% on Wednesday and Thursday (July 4th), and 40% for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
What do you do with that kind of information? Two things: (1) understand that a storm could develop nearby and (2) be flexible with your plans because the rain/lightning threats are usually short-lived, and you can get back to business as soon as it’s over.
By the way, the spotty, uneven storms kept missing the rain gauge at Huntsville International practically all month. At one time this year, we had a 12″ surplus. That’s now been cut to 7.85″ because of the relatively dry weather since mid-May!