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Livestock Wx for Feb. 16, 2018: Rain is coming but will miss the driest areas
Rainfall is indeed on the way for most of Oklahoma and Texas. This is no drought-buster but it will provide some needed moisture. The 5-day accumulated forecast (see below) shows the line between Austin, Texarkana, and up into eastern Oklahoma will receive the most rainfall. Temperatures will be above-normal but will cool significantly starting on Wednesday of next week.
Unfortunately, it looks like this system will miss West Texas, the Panhandle, and western Oklahoma; areas that need the rainfall most. The below image shows precipitation deficits going back to Oct. 1. The image is a little busy but hopefully, you can see cattle inventories (based on 2012 Ag census data) in areas with the greatest deficits. Southwest Kansas sticks out with approximately 2.4 million head of cattle in areas that have received 50 percent or less of their average rainfall from October through January. Oklahoma and Texas have more than 1.4 million and 1.1 million head, respectively, in areas that have received 50 percent or less of their average rainfall. That’s a lot of cattle looking for pasture.
On Thursday, Feb. 15, NOAA released its seasonal outlooks for March-April-May (shown below). Temperatures are expected to be above normal for Texas and Oklahoma while precipitation is expected to be below normal. The important thing to remember about these outlooks is that they are forecasting the predominant conditions over a 3-month period. They cannot account for individual storms so it is possible one or two good weather events could bust the forecast and bring some relief to the hardest hit drought areas. It bears watching and we will continue monitoring the medium-range forecasts for changes in the weather pattern.
That’s it for this week. As always, if you have any questions about conditions around Texas and Oklahoma please contact us at [email protected]