#21. Alabama

%2321.+Alabama

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– Share of state experiencing drought conditions (20-year average): 20,559 sq. mi. (39.8% of land area); 1,872,214 people (39.2% of population)

— Moderate drought: 11,840 sq. mi. (22.9% of land area); 1,095,194 people (22.9% of population)

— Severe drought: 6,790 sq. mi. (13.2% of land area); 644,111 people (13.5% of population)

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— Extreme drought: 3,502 sq. mi. (6.8% of land area); 348,065 people (7.3% of population)

— Exceptional drought: 1,482 sq. mi. (2.9% of land area); 165,410 people (3.5% of population)

In 2008, much of Alabama was under emergency drought status as conditions were so hot and dry that soybean shells shattered in fields, and Birmingham was chasing the all-time record of 52 days without rainfall, in what was called a once in a 50- to 100-year event. It was just one part of a brutal succession of droughts that devastated the state in the past 20 years. At its most severe, nearly 78% of Alabama land was under exceptional drought conditions.