Livestock Wx for Jan. 12, 2018: Drought Expansion over Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle & What to Expect in February and March
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Over the last week, eastern Oklahoma down to East Texas saw anywhere from a half inch to 1.5 inches of precipitation. The rainfall was well received and has helped alleviate some dryness in those areas. Temperatures have also improved moderating to what is normally expected for this time of year. The dryness over the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle and western Oklahoma, however, continues to be the story as we saw an expansion of moderate and severe drought and even the introduction of extreme drought this week.
Drought Continues to Intensify
Several publications are starting to pick up the string of days since any measurable precipitation has been observed. Usually, measurable precipitation is considered a hundredth of an inch (0.01”) or greater. The image below shows that as of Jan. 10, several observing stations across Oklahoma and Texas have gone 85 or more days with less than 0.01” of precipitation, with several locations reporting no precipitation at all during that time.
As a result, we see the U.S. Drought Monitor introducing Extreme Drought primarily over Harper, Woods, and Woodward counties in Oklahoma and slight expansion of Extreme Drought over parts of the Rolling Plains in Texas (highlighted by the black box in the graphic below). Moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions were also expanded in portions of Central, South, and West Texas.
The 7-Day forecast below shown against those observing stations indicates not much precipitation is expected over the coming week. The medium-term outlooks from NOAA (not shown), though, indicate we could see some precipitation across both states in the next 14 days. Next week we will provide an update on what you can expect for the remainder of January.
February and March Forecast
For a longer look at what we can expect, the updated model guidance from the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) indicates that below-normal precipitation (brown) is likely to persist through February. March precipitation is a little less clear but we could see normal conditions for much of Texas and Oklahoma. Temperatures on the other hand (shown in orange), are expected to be above normal for both February and March.
For most of Texas and Oklahoma this is the driest time of year so we have a chance of conditions improving; however, we are starting in a pretty good precipitation hole. As we move through January and get closer to spring we will continue to update you on what conditions you can expect and if these dry and drought areas will improve or continue to deteriorate.
That’s it for this week. If you have any questions about conditions around Texas and Oklahoma, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org