Minor Drought Improvements Noted; Long-Term Problems Remain
- Thursday, 07 August 2014 19:07
The weekly drought monitor was released this morning for Texas. As expected there were minor reductions in drought intensities in areas that received heavy rain last week. While there were some minor improvements the overall short-term situation has deteriorated as numerous grass fires have been reported this week. The hot temperatures have quickly dried out plants and surface vegetation. With several more days of summer heat expected the danger of large grass fires will continue to increase. The long-term drought continues across the Southern Plains even with the benefitial rains seen over the past two months.
Here is the analysis for the drought monitor from the Drought Mitigation Center for this week.
Heavy rain swept across Oklahoma and environs on July 30-31, resulting in modest reductions in drought intensity and coverage. A stripe of 2- to 6-inch rainfall totals stretched across southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, central and eastern Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas, with official, 2-day totals reaching 5.18 inches in McAlester, Oklahoma; 4.02 inches in Paris, Texas; and 2.18 inches in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Oklahoma’s topsoil moisture was rated 36% very short to short on August 3, an improvement from 47% the previous week. However, the effects of a multi-year drought were still apparent in the fact that, on August 3, subsoil moisture was rated 59% very short to short in Oklahoma, along with 52% in both Colorado and Kansas.
Aside from some heavy showers in northern and eastern Texas, significant rainfall largely bypassed the Lone Star State in late July and early August. As a result, both topsoil and subsoil moisture was rated 67% very short to short on August 3, according to USDA. Several degradations in the drought depiction were introduced in Texas, while USDA reported that rangeland and pasture “conditions began to deteriorate in areas of Edwards Plateau due to dry weather.” In addition, some producers in southern Texas “began to provide supplemental feed.”
There are currently 61 counties in Texas under a outdoor burn ban due to the ongoing drought and elevated fire danger conditions. Those not under burn bans should use extreme caution when using open flame or burning outdoors. Even though some have received rain recently the hot weather has caused surface moisture to quickly dry out promoting the danger for fast-moving grass fires.
Weather Roundup- Friday August 1st
- Friday, 01 August 2014 07:50
Good morning and TGIF!!! Just two areas of rain concerns to talk about this morning…southeast Texas and far western Texas. Our old frontal boundary is currently draped all along the coast and up towards the El Paso area and into southern New Mexico. This weak and stalled boundary will remain a focus for additional rain and storms today. We’ve already had one round of heavy showers and storms overnight around the Houston area. Those are currently moving offshore creating a lull in activity before showers and storms are expected to develop once again across this area later this afternoon. Across far west Texas in the El Paso area, showers and storms continue to drift east into the area this morning and last throughout the day. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for El Paso and Hudspeth counties until early Sunday. Rain and storm chances across western Texas are expected to last through early Sunday which will bring much needed rain into the region.
Highs today, not bad at all for it being the first of August! Highs around 79 to 82 expected in the DFW area, Amarillo at 81, Lubbock 86, Austin, 91, Houston 89, Corpus at 90 and Brownsville at 95…all not bad at all for the peak of summertime heating. Cloud cover is expected to stick around for most of the day across north central, northeast and east central Texas which will limit heating greatly depending upon how long they stick around. Sames goes for western Texas and our coastal zones as storms pop up during the afternoon hours. West central and down into southwest and south Texas will have the best opportunities for sunshine today overall. These cooler than typical temps are expected to last for a few more days before we pop back up into the realm of “normal” readings for this time of year; however the overall trends in the long-range forecasts have temps at or just below seasonal averages for the next several weeks for central and northern portions of the state. We’ll take that!
Weather Roundup – Thursday July 31st – Heavy Rain/Flash Flood Warnings across North Central Texas
- Thursday, 31 July 2014 07:43
Good morning and happy Thursday! Impressive rainfall over parts of north central Texas last night which carries on into east central Texas this morning. Several Flash Flood Advisories and Warnings remain in effect for the Red River Counties north and northeast of the DFW metroplex until around 8:00 to 8:30am this morning…plus a new Flash Flood Warning just issued for parts of Collin and Denton County with additional heavy rain rolling in at this time. Some mesonet sites have measured in excess of 3 inches of rain since last night, with reports of flash flooding in the typically flood-prone areas across Hunt, Kaufaman and Van Zandt counties. Be careful as you head out to work this morning!
This large area of current rain is expected to continue moving southeast into east central Texas this morning and should be moving into western Louisiana by around 11am. The frontal boundary will continue to push southeast towards the coast which will provide a focus for additional scattered shower and thunderstorm development later this afternoon and evening across south central Texas. Widespread heavy rainfall is not expected, but a few of the more prolific storm cell clusters could drop an inch or two over localized areas through this evening…especially across southeast Texas.
Behind the cold front, conditions will dry out and become pleasant by later this afternoon with cooler temps and plenty of nice sunshine. It’s not often you see highs in the upper 70’s and low to mid 80’s across any part of the state at the end of July, but that’s what we’ll have today! Hopefully some of y’all can get out and enjoy it! Of course, the further south you go, the less influence the cold front will have on temps, so low 90’s to 100’s can be expected along and ahead of where the frontal boundary lands by peak daytime heating. That’s it for this morning’s roundup! We’ll keep an eye on radar and provide updates as necessary today.
Weather Roundup – Monday July 28th
- Monday, 28 July 2014 07:43
Yesterday’s cool front is slowly working its way south this morning across north Texas. We’re expecting a few scattered showers and thunderstorms as it moves through the DFW metro and south towards I-20, but the best chances for seeing precip will be this afternoon along and behind the front as it settles in across central and west central Texas. Rainfall amounts outside of what’s already fallen across the northern panhandle will not be all that significant. We will have to wait until mid to late week with the arrival of a second, stronger, cold front before the rain machine really kicks into gear.
Highs today, slightly cooler and more pleasant behind the front. It’s a pretty lame front, so it won’t make all the much difference in temps today or tomorrow. What we’ll mostly see if drier air moving into the northern portions of the state, which of course means less of that muggy feeling. This front will actually begin to lift north again by tomorrow evening bringing warmer temps back once again for Wednesday across northern Texas.
The second, stronger, cold front will begin arriving Wednesday across the panhandle, then working its way south across northern and central Texas on Thursday. By Friday, the front will be dipping down into the south central zones and stalling out. This will bring the rain chances further south as well as we head into the latter part of the week and into the weekend. So…just to set expectations…this is a week-long event with some rain chances most every day which will be pushing south with the front. Not everyone will receive a bunch of rain, but a majority of the state will get at least something from this week’s systems, so just hang tight! Here’s a look at the currently forecasted accumulation through early next Monday.
Weather Roundup – Saturday July 26th
- Saturday, 26 July 2014 10:52
Good morning and happy Saturday! Hot again today with Heat Advisories in place over several locations in the panhandle, northwest Texas, Big Bend region and for coastal areas in and around Corpus Christi. Rain chances will be slim today, but best location for seeing any sort of storm or shower development will be along the seabreeze front as it moves inland from the coast, and up across the northwest panhandle from storms expected to develop once again across northeastern NM and southeastern CO. Overall though…very dry and hot conditions for a majority of the state today and well into tomorrow. But, some relief is on the way this week!
The first of two cold fronts will approach the state tonight, affecting the panhandle region first, then drifting south towards the Red River on Sunday. This will bring cooler temps and a chance for rain Sunday into Monday for the panhandle. Temps today at or just over 100 are expected to be a good 10 degrees cooler across this area tomorrow, and another 5 to 10 degrees cooler by Monday! This front is not expected to make it much further south than the Red River during the day on Sunday, but is expected to push south across the Red River and into north Texas overnight Sunday into Monday. This will bring chance for rain across the northern portion of the state, mainly along and south of the I-20 corridor for Monday afternoon.
Just to set the expectations for next week….we will get cooler weather and some rain…but it’s still summer, so don’t expect anything too drastic with regard to the temps. The most palpable benefit will be from drier surface air over the region once the first front arrives and settles across central Texas during the week. Rain chances will be around, but not nearly as widespread for the beginning of the week as we had with our last frontal system. Best chances for a more significant cool down (relatively speaking) and more widespread chances for rain arrive by later in the week as the second cold front drops down out of the plains around Thursday. I don’t want to get too far into that forecast as things can certainly change, but that’s the expected pattern…so far. Since rain is always the first and foremost thing we want to know about…here is how the rainfall accumulations are shaping up for next week. Stay tuned as this forecast could easily change depending upon timing of our fronts this week and where they stall out across the state.