Hot weather

Hurricane Dorian won’t affect us, and the rain that’s inundating other areas of the Southeast will continue to stay away from Cullman County well into the foreseeable future. But despite long stretches this summer with little to no rainfall, and some of the year’s hottest temperatures on tap for next week, the Cullman area has so far been spared from the effects of critically low water levels and drought-like conditions.

Periods of brief but intense rainfall, coupled with additional rainfall within the watershed that supplies Cullman County, have combined to keep the area’s water table adequately supplied so far this summer, said Cullman Emergency Management Agency director Phyllis Little.

“Thankfully, I’ve had no conversations with anybody at all about our water levels being concerning. When we’ve gotten rain, we’ve gotten a whole lot of rain at one time; plus we’ve had rain all around us in the watershed,” Little explained.

“That has helped us through the hot months. Over the past couple of months we’ve had a lot of showers that didn’t hit us directly, but skirted up the eastern side of the county — which hits our watersheds going into Lake Catoma and 8 Mile Creek.”

This weekend’s momentary dip in humidity doesn’t quite signal the start of fall — or cooler weather — just yet. Humid conditions are expected to return by the start of next week, and with them, thermometer readings in the mid-to-high 90s.

“It’s only September still; it’s not even fall for us yet, so yes: It’s going to be hot and it’s going to be sticky next week,” said Little. “Hopefully our heat index will not be in the triple digits like it has been at times over the last month, but the rain chances on our hottest days next week are only at 20 percent, so we may see some high heat indexes once again.”

With the hurricane season reaching its peak, September also is National Preparedness Month, a time when emergency management officials are reminding residents to check and replace batteries in flashlights and smoke detectors, as well as go over their families’ severe weather plans.

“If you don’t have a sever weather plan, this is a good time for you to make one,” said Little. “You can visit ready.gov for a lot of tips on how to do that, along with tips on learning about what resources we have in the community that are in place for people after a severe weather or disaster event.

“In general, it’s just a good time to study up and learn about preparedness measures ahead of time. A lot of homeowners don’t realize, for instance, that homeowners’ insurance policies rarely cover flooding during rain events, and that that kind of coverage often requires a separate flood insurance policy. That’s a precautionary point, but it can make a big difference for people who own homes in flood plains around Smith Lake or the Mulberry or Lake George.”

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