History of weather in Alabama

The pigeons stood shivering next to the frozen fountain in front of our office building. Snow was in the forecast for Valentine’s weekend. Everyone was thinking the same thing: must be winter in Alabama.

Is the winter of 2009-2010 worse than usual? The online Encyclopedia of Alabama is a great place to start any research you might undertake about our state.

An overview article on “Climate” by Philip Chaney states that the lowest recorded temperature in Alabama was -27° F at New Market in Madison County on January 30, 1966. If you were in New Market that day, you’ll never let anyone from the North tell you it doesn’t get cold in Alabama!

The article also notes, “The highest recorded amount of snowfall during a 24-hour period appears to be 13 inches on March 12-13, 1993, at Birmingham.” As a matter of fact, many readers of this blog were indeed in Birmingham those days and vividly recall the “Blizzard of ’93.”

But interestingly, the board and staff of the Alabama Humanities Foundation were at a planning retreat at Gulf Shores State Park when the snow hit the state then. We had flurries on the beach and encountered snow on the ground by the time we reached Bay Minette on the way back north.

For those Alabamians who are tired of winter, don’t despair. For one thing, you could be living in the Mid-Atlantic region and trying to swim through 40-50 inches of snow. For another thing, please note that Birmingham Bill, the resident groundhog at the Birmingham Zoo, did not see his shadow on February 2. This promises an early spring—with yards full of growing grass and weeds, mosquitoes on the wing, rising humidity.

In other words, summer in Alabama won’t be far behind. Then the real old timers can tell us about what it was like in Centerville on September 5, 1925, when the thermometer clocked in at 112° F.

Written by: Bob S.