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By the Numbers for April 11, 2019: Part of West Texas Blew Away on Wednesday
On Wednesday, April 10, strong winds and blowing dust caused numerous crashes around Lubbock. Wind speeds of 40 to 50 mph and gusts over 70 mph were observed. Coupled with low humidity and temperatures in the low 90s, these made for extreme conditions and resulted in a red flag warning being issued by the National Weather Service.
In Wyoming they call days where the wind speed approaches the high temperature 50/50 days, meaning 50 degrees for the high (that’s warm in Wyoming) and 50 mph winds (also mild for Wyoming). Over the next week, conditions should be relatively mild over most of Texas and Oklahoma, however, mild temperatures are usually accompanied by rainfall and there should be a lot of it (see below) over the next week. The exception to all this will be Far West Texas, which is expected to see above average temperatures and little to no rainfall.
Several soaking-rain systems will hit the South-Central U.S. over the next week. The first will arrive this weekend with another later next week. This will result in extremely heavy rain and the prospects for flooding. A large portion of Texas and Oklahoma could see 2 or more inches of rainfall.
March Temperature and Precipitation Rankings
NOAA released its temperature and precipitation rankings for March this week. The Edwards Plateau, the Rolling Plains, southwest Oklahoma and into northeast Oklahoma, all saw below-average temperatures for the month.
For precipitation, the big winner was the TX/OK Panhandle, which came in as the 103 and 102 (respectively) wettest March on record (out of 125 years). If you’re interested, that’s worth about 1.4” of precipitation for the Texas side and about 2” of precipitation for Oklahoma.
U.S. Drought Continues to Decline: Lowest percentage of the U.S. in drought ever reported by the Drought Monitor
This week, the U.S. Drought Monitor reporter a little over 4 percent of the Contiguous U.S. in drought. That is lowest percentage since the Drought Monitor stared in 2000 and just beat out May 23, 2017, for the title.
Texas saw a decrease of about four percentage points considered in drought from last week while no area in Oklahoma was in drought. This is good news but we are just starting to see warmer temperatures and getting into the growing season, so this is likely the lowest we will see for some time. Areas to watch going forward will be Central Texas, South Texas along the border, and Far West Texas.