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By the N#mbers, May 10, 2019: Finding good news in all the rain
124 out of 124
The Low Rolling Plains Climate Division (note: Climate Divisions are a NOAA designation and track long-term climate trends), which extends from just south of Canadian, Texas, down to around Coleman, witnessed its wettest October to April period on record. That’s 7.5” of precipitation above average and is the highest total for that time period since 1895, or 124 years. As many know, this is significant since the Rolling Plains seems often to be the epicenter of drought in the Southern Plains.
East Texas has received in excess of 40 inches of rain between Oct-Apr, which is about 13 inches over its average, and is the eighth wettest on record. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those struggling with the massive amount of rain and flooding they received over the last several weeks.
As we said in the title, we’re trying to look for the good news. With the release of this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor, Texas finds itself drought free for the first time since July 2016. Oklahoma has been drought free since the first of the year. With the exception of South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, all of Texas and Oklahoma have seen precipitation totals way above average for the 2019 Water Year (October 2018 – September 2019).
70% summer, 55-60% chance through fall
The probability El Niño will continue through the summer and fall. The majority of the climate models used to predict El Niño/La Niña events are mostly in agreement it will likely persist through 2019. We know, this is the opposite of looking for the good news, but we thought you should know. For those that are interested in the detail, NOAA has a good story over at its ENSO Blog.
130% of average greenness
Over the last 30-days, satellite estimates of the density of “greenness” are confirming vegetation is responding to the wet year we have observed. A significant part of Texas is seeing much higher densities of greening vegetation than what would normally be expected for this time of year (image below). The Panhandle down to West Texas are seeing greenness percentages 125 to 130 percent of average. The good moisture and warming conditions have grass growing rapidly and should result in solid grazing this year.