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By the N#mbers for April 18, 2019: Rain & temp outlooks
33% to 40% Chance of Below Normal Temperatures
It is the third Thursday of the month, which means NOAA released its Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks. These outlooks cover May-June-July, or as is said in the biz, “MJJ.” Temperatures are expected to be cooler than normal over the Southern Plains, whereas the rest of the nation is expected to be warmer than normal. The outlooks are keying on climatological patterns observed during El Niño years, which is why they are showing below normal temps from Nebraska down to Texas.
40%-50% Chance of Above Normal Rainfall
Just like the Outlook for Temperature, expectations for precipitation are mostly aligned with what we normally expect during an El Niño. Over the next three-months is for above-normal over most of the country, which includes almost all of the Texas and Oklahoma. The enhanced outlooks for rainfall are also associated with current positive (wet) soil moisture anomalies over the Plains. It will be interesting if the percentage of drought continues to decline across the U.S. As many know, the summer is usually when it ramps up so it should be an interesting next three-months.
Looking at the most recent climate rankings, many regions around Texas were inside the top 100 years (Remember these rankings consider the last 125 years) for precipitation for the period of October through March. The TX High Plains (includes the Panhandle) was the 104th wettest, the Low Rolling Plains 113th, North Central was 119th, the Trans Pecos was 100th, and the Edwards Plateau was 113th. That explains how we were looking dry way back in December-January in the Panhandle and surrounding areas and then all of a sudden, the drought was gone, and South Texas took it over.
3% Drought and on the Decline?
The U.S. drought area continues to take a pounding. This week, just like last week, set a record for the lowest percentage of the Contiguous U.S. in drought at just a little over 3 percent. We’re rooting for something south of 1 percent but we’re also mindful many areas don’t need any more precipitation and are looking forward to planting and turning out their cattle.