Lawns and gardens are starting to turn brown as the Birmingham area moves into another week of limited rainfall expectations.
Last week, Birmingham Water Works issued a stage-one drought advisory that is still in effect.
The advisory asks residents to voluntarily be “wise” with their water usage, limiting it to necessities such as bathing, cooking and laundry, but avoiding excessive uses, such as watering lawns or washing cars.
Residents are encouraged, but not required at this point, to implement general water-saving tips. These tips include not running water while brushing teeth, shaving or face washing and the unnecessary flushing of toilets. The BWWB also suggests storing drinking water in bottles in the refrigerator and double-checking that homes are free of leaks.
Birmingham and the surrounding area have been unusually dry even for September and October, which are already generally the area’s driest months.
The U.S. Drought Monitor rated Jefferson County and Shelby County from “moderate drought” in most areas to “severe” and “extreme” droughts in the eastern and northern areas.
John DeBlock, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Birmingham office, said that the drought conditions are the result of stagnant weather patterns over the last several weeks.
He said that while September and October are normally already pretty dry due to a loss of the summer’s Gulf moisture, a high-pressure system has dropped humidity levels even further.
DeBlock said that the pattern of little to no precipitation is expected to stick around, especially for the next seven to 10 days, but possibly as long as the next 30 days.
Not only will lawns and landscaping be affected, but DeBlock said the fire risk will increase as well, and agriculture may be impacted if the pattern doesn’t change.
The Alabama Forestry Commission also issued a Fire Danger Warning for the majority of the state.
The BWWB has not increased the advisory to a stage-two drought watch at this point, but if weather conditions continue that might be in the future as well.
If the board decides to up the level, additional restrictions may be placed on water usage, including even/odd watering days, golf course restrictions and other conservation measures.
Information about the BWWB’s plan can be found at bwwb.org/droughttips.