SPONSORED CONTENT — Livestock Wx, a provider of weather information for stock producers, talks heat, moisture and how the next two weeks are shaping up across the country and here in the Southwest.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows significant expansion of dry conditions (D0) and moderate drought (D1) for much of Oklahoma. Approximately 70 percent of Oklahoma is in the abnormally dry category (D0), or worse, compared to just 26 percent last week. For the most part, drought conditions around Texas were similar to last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor; however, severe drought (D2) was introduced in the area around Childress and Cottle counties.
For the rest of the country, the Northern Plains continue to see worsening drought conditions. Extreme drought (D3) in North Dakota increased from approximately 8 percent last week to 25 percent of the state this week. Drought in South Dakota did not significantly change from last week but Montana did see an increase of overall drought conditions (D1 or greater) from 27 percent to around 42 percent of the state this week. The cattle inventory numbers for those areas are: 81 percent of North Dakota cattle are in drought (D1 or greater) while South Dakota and Montana show approximately 44 percent and 51 percent cattle in drought, respectively.
Over the past few weeks parts of Central Oklahoma, the Panhandle/Rolling Plains along with the Rio Grande Valley and Far West Texas have seen 25 percent or less of their normal rainfall for June. These deficits range between 2 and 4 inches with Central Oklahoma seeing the greatest deficits for the month. Officials at the Texas Forest Service note those areas in Texas with less than 25 percent of normal rainfall, or around half of inch or less of rainfall, are seeing grasses start to cure and an increase in dry dead fuels. In the most recent Texas Crop and Weather Report, AgriLife Extension notes South Texas range and pasture conditions were on the decline and showing signs of increased fire hazard. Similar conditions are being seen in the Rolling Plains and the Panhandle along with areas around Abilene, Coleman, and San Angelo.
Next 2 Weeks: Likely Hot and Dry
As we say goodbye to the month of June and say hello to July, we hope to see some improvement in these dry areas. In fact, there could be some good news for parts of Oklahoma east of I-35 where significant rainfall is expected over the 4th of July holiday. Rainfall amounts west of the interstate; however, are expected to taper off and little, if any, rain is expected over most of Texas. Unfortunately beyond that, the next two weeks will likely continue the unusually dry weather. There is a strong prospect for below-normal rainfall into the middle of July (6 to 10 and 8 to 14 Day Outlooks). This is due to an unusual bulge in the Jetstream to the far north over the western U.S. and a dip south over the east. While the greatest (hot) temperatures will be to the west of Oklahoma and Texas, the ridge of high pressure will result in modestly above-normal readings and significantly below-normal rainfall. This hot and dry weather will likely lead to continued drying of soils and the potential for areas in drought to expand in Texas and Oklahoma over the next couple of weeks.