5 July 2011

“Exceptional” Texas/Oklahoma Drought Intensifies

Posted by Dan Satterfield

In some parts of Texas and Oklahoma, the drought is now worse than the dust bowl days of the 1930’s. 72% of Texas is now in exceptional drought and the long range weather pattern is looking very dry and hot. If you include Oklahoma, and the other South Central states, then nearly 50% of the region is now at the most extreme drought stage. The image below shows the departure from normal rainfall over the last 60 days. It’s a quick and easy view of where the driest area are.


Image from NOAA


Forecast precip. next 5 days. GFS Model from NCEP-NOAA

The next few days will bring little or no relief to much of the region. The rainfall forecasts from NOAA’s Global model show almost no rain in much of the region over the next 5 days. The exception will be in parts of Tennessee and Alabama where this week will see some scattered afternoon storms.

Arkansas reported a record number of wildfires over the weekend, and has now instituted a strict burn ban over the southern part of the state. In Texas, the dry ground has led to record highs with Austin seeing it’s hottest April on record and the Texas panhandle has baked with several cities setting all time record highs. Childress hit 117 two weeks ago, and this kind of heat feeds on itself with drier ground leading to even hotter conditions.