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ACF Drought and Water Monthly Webinar: January 2021

Event Date
January 26, 2021
Event Time
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


This webinar provides updated information on the climate, water, and drought status of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin. This drought assessment webinar is brought to you by the Auburn University Water Resources Center and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).


Current Drought Status, Seasonal Forecasts, and Outlooks

Speaker: David Zierden, Florida Climate Center, Florida State University

  • 2020 was very warm and wet for most of the Southeast U.S. However, December 2020 was the first colder than normal month in Florida in nearly three years.
  • 2020 was the 5th warmest year for the U.S. as a whole (over the past 126 years); however, there were no states with record warm temperatures. Ten states did have their second warmest year on record in 2020.
  • Negative Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation overwhelmed typical La Niña impacts in December and January. 
  • Temperatures were slightly warmer than normal over the last 30 days.
  • Small pockets of “abnormally dry” (D0) conditions exist over north Florida, Georgia, Alabama, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • Rainfall deficits are starting to build across most of the ACF Basin at 30 to 90 days.
  • A ”La Niña Advisory” has been issued by NOAA, with a 100% chance of continuing through winter and a 65% of continuing through spring.
  • The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal forecast favors above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall for the Southeast.
  • Drought development is a risk in the spring as La Niña plays out, especially in the lower ACF Basin.

State of Alabama Input

Speaker: Tom Littlepage, Alabama Office of Water Resources

  • The Alabama Office of Water Resources states no reported water availability issues.
  • There have been no changes to the Alabama Drought Declaration since September 1, 2020.
  • Areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) has risen from 5% to 23% of the state in the past week. Recent and forecasted rainfall should help to reduce these areas.
  • The Office of Water Resources continues to monitor conditions and the implications of La Niña.

Streamflow and Groundwater

Speaker: Paul Ankcorn, U.S. Geological Survey

  • Real-time streamflow in the ACF basin are currently in the high to much below normal range.
  • The upper Flint River basin is currently ranked as moderate hydrologic drought for the 7-day average streamflow.
  • 28-day average streamflow for the Chattahoochee River is currently in the above normal to normal range.
  • 28-day average streamflow for the Flint River is currently in the normal range.
  • Real-time groundwater levels across the ACF Basin range from above normal to low, with most stations ranked in the normal range.

ACF Reservoir Conditions

Speaker: Troy Ephraim, Cindy Donald, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District

  • Inflows into the projects are normal/above normal.
  • Currently, projects are operating slightly above/right at winter pool elevations
  • The ACF system conservation storage is in Zone 1 and is forecasted to stay in Zone 1 for the next few weeks.

Streamflow Forecasts

Speaker: Jeff Dobur, National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center

  • Flooding is not anticipated in the short-term in the ACF.
  • The Southeast River Forecast's 1-month streamflow forecast: near normal conditions, with above-normal flows on the far upper Chattahoochee.
  • The Southeast River Forecast's 3-month streamflow forecast: near normal conditions.
  • View Official River Stage and Flow Forecasts.

Special Presentation: Multivariate Assimilation of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture and Evapotranspiration for Drought Monitoring

Speaker: Hamid Moradkhani, Center for Complex Hydrosystems Research, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama


New Launched!

Speaker: Meredith Muth, NOAA National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

  • The new U.S. Drought Portal,, was launched this month.
  • During next month's webinar, we'll have someone do a walkthrough of the website, focusing on topics that might be relevant to the ACF River Basin.