Coronavirus Live Updates from NPR

First Rain After Drought is Both Good and Bad

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Esther Ciammachilli, WBHM

Gordon Black, Education Director at Cahaba River Society, points out the murky water in the river Tuesday morning, the day after the first substantial rain in months.

Groups that monitor Alabama’s waterways are welcoming the rain after months of drought. However, they say, there are some drawbacks and are warning of potential health risks found in and around rivers and streams.

Members of the Cahaba River Society say the only thing worse than a drought is the first rain after a drought.

They say, for months now hazardous sediment has built up around the metro Birmingham area. The first rain after months of dry weather washes that residue into the waterways causing contamination, says Gordon Black, Education Director at the Cahaba River Society and an avid canoeist.

“I’m not about to go get in the water, today, tomorrow, this week. Because what that runoff brings into the river is not water. It’s all the chemicals, all the manures, all the awful bacterial growths,” Black says.

Black says it could be several days before the waterways are safe for human contact. The National Weather Service is predicting sunshine and clear skies for the rest of the week, with more rain in the forecast over the weekend.