SPONSORED CONTENT: Livestock Wx, a provider of weather information for stock producers, discusses expected drought expansion and intensification over the Northern Plains and modest improvement over eastern Oklahoma along with how the next two weeks are shaping up across the country and here in the Southwest.
Current Conditions Around Texas and the Southwest
Over the past week good rainfall was observed across portions of central and southeastern Oklahoma, parts of North Texas, and over into the area around Lubbock and the Rolling Plains. The accumulated rainfall map shows some of these areas received at least 8 inches since July 1. This has likely resulted in good soil moisture replenishment in these areas. Temperatures have also been reasonable in these areas with below normal to average temperatures for the same time period.
It wasn’t all good news, however, as hot and dry conditions caused areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) to expand in the Hill Country, eastern portions of the Rolling Plains, and South Texas. In the Rolling Plains, below normal rainfall and dry soils led to the introduction of Severe Drought (D2) for Wheeler and Collingsworth counties.
Most of Texas and the Southwest will remain relatively dry over the next week, however, temperatures should be in the normal range for this time of the year. The 7-day temperature forecast map shows expected temperatures below or above average (i.e. temperature anomalies) over the coming week. For the most part things are looking better for the region and much better than what the Northern Plains is expecting.
Northern Plains Drought Likely to Expand and Intensify
A combination of unusually high temperatures and below-normal rainfall are likely to increase drought impacts for parts of the Northern Plains over the next 15 days. An upper ridge of high pressure is responsible for the heat wave and is shown below on the latest version of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The current dome of upper high pressure (in red) will not move much through the middle of the month and will likely expand (brown) further into the Northern Plains. As the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates, they are currently experiencing significant drought. As temperatures build the drought will likely intensify and we could see a corresponding increase in drought related impacts heading into mid July.
Last week USDA announced it was opening up more hay and pasture through the Conservation Reserve Program for livestock producers in the Dakotas, eastern Montana and parts of Wyoming. Cattle inventory designated in drought for these states is about the same from last week (SD: 44 percent, ND: 81 percent, MT: 51 percent) as is the percentage alfalfa hay (SD: 54 percent, ND: 86 percent, MT: 46 percent). These percentages will likely increase or move into higher drought categories over the next couple of weeks.
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