Livestock Wx for July 21, 2017: Livestock Wx, a provider of weather information for stock producers, discusses the introduction of Extreme Drought over the Northern Plains and what conditions we can expect across Texas and Oklahoma into October.
With little relief in sight, Northern Plains drought continues
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows continued intensification and expansion of drought across the Dakotas and eastern Montana. Hot and dry conditions have been the norm over the past several weeks and have led to the introduction of Exceptional Drought (D4), the highest drought category for the Drought Monitor. As was the case last week, there approximately 3 million head of cattle in the area categorized as Extreme (D3) and Exceptional (D4) Drought. USDA authorized this week emergency haying on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands through August for counties in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota designated as D2 or greater on the Drought Monitor. Pastures are in poor or very poor condition and reports coming out of the area indicate producers are actively providing supplemental feed and or culling herds.
For Texas and Oklahoma, the Drought Monitor is much less bleak, however. Severe Drought (D2) was introduced in west-central Oklahoma and in the Texas Panhandle. Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions were also expanded in South Texas and around Enid, Oklahoma, and into southern Kansas.
Rainfall and temperatures across Texas and Oklahoma
Over the past week, Far West Texas, the western part of the Hill Country (around Junction and south to Uvalde), and the Gulf Coast received good rainfall. While the rainfall did provide much needed moisture for the Hill Country, much of the area is still running deficits of less than 25 percent of average. Oklahoma was also mostly dry, the exceptions being around the Canadian River northwest of Hammon and the northeast part of the state. The July rainfall to date map (see below) shows the relatively poor rainfall that has been received this month for the Hill Country, South Texas and the Texas-Oklahoma Panhandle
Temperatures have been about normal over the last week, the exceptions being around the Texas-Oklahoma Panhandle and in particular for Texas County in Oklahoma where temperatures have been 6-8 ºF above normal.
Rainfall and temperature outlook for August-September-October
Last week we discussed the National Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) model and highlighted the temperature and rainfall forecasts for August and September. On Thursday, NOAA updated their suite of seasonal forecasts. The forecasts (below) indicate Texas and Oklahoma have a modest chance of above-normal rainfall over the next three months. Temperatures could also be above-normal over the same period, however.
Green = Probability of Above Normal Rainfall
Brown = Probability of Below Normal Rainfall
Orange = Probability of Above Normal Temperatures
Blue = Probability of Below Normal Temperatures
As we move into the second half the summer Livestock Wx will continue to monitor conditions for Texas and the Southwest and we will keep you updated on the ongoing drought in the Northern Plains. For information about weather conditions in your area and the potential impacts to livestock, please contact Livestock Wx at: firstname.lastname@example.org