Most of the South was wetter and cooler than normal this week. Heavy rain fell from central Texas to southeast Oklahoma and much of Arkansas. Reports of 4 inches or more of rainfall were common. The rains missed other portions of the region, especially coastal Texas, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, the worst drought areas of southwest Oklahoma, and parts of Louisiana.
D0-D3 contracted across much of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and northern Louisiana. But D0-D4 expanded in parts of Texas and Mississippi which missed the beneficial rains. The resulting pattern of D0-D4 in Texas reflected dryness at several time scales.
Based on a crucial drought indicator, the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), it was dry at the 30-day time scale in the Trans-Pecos, northern panhandle, and Gulf coast; dry at 60 days in the Trans-Pecos and northern tier counties; dry at 90 days from the southern Rio Grande, across central Texas to the north central and northeast areas; the 120-day timescale is similar to 90 days except there was more severe dryness and includes the Trans-Pecos; 6 months has dryness mostly in west to central Texas, with a spot over the Gulf coast; 9 months is the 6 month pattern except lots drier; 12 months is like 6 and 9 months; 24 months has some spotty dryness mostly central to north central and northeast. When soils are parched from dryness of these timescales, a one-week rainfall of 4 inches is helpful, but not a drought-buster.
As summarized by the NDMC, water restrictions or water shortages were reported in Waco and other Texas communities, specifically media reports that recent rain did not improve water supplies in Waco where 50 million gallons on average were used daily this summer. Voluntary water restrictions were taking effect in other central Texas cities like Robinson.
By early August, drought impacts in many parts of Texas included pastures and rangeland in poor to very poor condition or declining condition, forage production has stopped, stock ponds receding or low water supplies for livestock, and, in central Texas, total loss of all dryland crops. The rains this week were helpful, but not for the crops that were already lost. According to Aug. 12 USDA reports, 36 percent of the corn crop and 57 percent of the pasture and rangeland in Texas were in poor to very poor condition, and 71 percent of the topsoil and 76 percent of the subsoil was short or very short of moisture; 29 percent of the pasture and rangeland in Louisiana was in poor to very poor condition, and 43 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture; 45 percent of the pasture and rangeland in Arkansas was in poor to very poor condition, and 50 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture.
Looking Ahead: For Aug. 16-20, dry weather will continue across the Far West and much of Texas; monsoon showers will bring a few tenths of an inch to locally over an inch of rain to the Southwest; and fronts and low pressure systems will bring over an inch of rain to a large area stretching from the central and northern Plains, across the Midwest, to most of the Southeast and Northeast, with up to half an inch to an inch across the Rockies to High Plains.
Temperatures are expected to be warmer than normal across the West and cooler than normal in the Great Plains, with near-normal temperatures east of the Mississippi River.
For Aug. 21-29, odds favor below-normal precipitation across the Pacific Northwest to northern Plains, and above-normal precipitation for the Southwest to Southeast, Ohio Valley to Great Lakes, Northeast, and most of Alaska. There is a higher probability for warmer-than-normal temperatures in the West, along the Gulf of Mexico coast, along the East Coast, and in much of Alaska, while cooler-than-normal temperatures are favored to dominate the Plains to Midwest.
Read more at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/