This week’s drought summary: Summer thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to the Central Plains into parts of the Northeast, with showers and thunderstorms also occurring across parts of the Northwest, Southern Rockies, and Central Gulf Coast. Below-average temperatures accompanied the heavy precipitation for the most part. The Southwest saw little to no rain and record to near-record heat, while heat and humidity continued to the east. The above-average temperatures and dry conditions brought elevated fire risk over the Great Basin and portions of the northern Intermountain West. South central Alaska remained dry and fires continued to burn, with smoke warnings in effect. Heavy rains, flash flooding, and severe weather occurred as a front stretched from the Southern Mid-Atlantic into the Southern Plains.
South: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana saw sharp gradients and some complicated rainfall patterns, with heavy precipitation in some places and little to none in others, and so many areas saw improvement in short-term dryness and drought while many others saw degradation. Conditions improved across part of the Oklahoma Panhandle into northern Texas and also in in the central region and southeast, but there was also a degradation to extreme drought (D3) along the Texas border, encompassing parts of Kiowa, Comanche, Cotton, and Tillman Counties (and northern Wichita and northeastern Wilbarger County in Texas) where rain was scarce. This is the first occurence of D3 in Oklahoma since September 2018. Temperatures here were in the 105-109 degree F range. In Texas, the D3 area to the west expanded, as did the D3 area in the extreme south, with a new small spot as well. Primary impacts across the state include wildfires, dry stock tanks, supplemental feeding, and impacts to late-season crops, namely cotton. Moderate drought spread from east Texas into southwestern Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana. Abnormal dryness also spread eastward to south central Arkansas and central to northeastern Louisiana.
Looking Ahead: Over the week beginning Aug. 27, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, dry conditions are expected to continue across southern Texas and much of the western third of the continental U.S., while light to heavy rainfall may occur across the remainder of the country. Parts of Kansas may receive up to about 4 inches, with isolated higher amounts. Hurricane Dorian will bring heavy rain and potential flooding to Puerto Rico and Florida, where 4-8 inches of rain are expected from the storm, with locally higher amounts.
Looking further ahead to Sept. 2-6, below-normal temperatures are favored across Maine and parts of the Northern Plains and Midwest, nosediving into Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, while above-normal temperatures are forecast for Alaska, the western third of the CONUS, across most of Texas, and into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Much of the Southwest and Alaska are both favored to have some badly needed above-average precipitation, as is the Southeast and the northern tier of the CONUS. There are enhanced probabilities of below-normal precipitation for the Southern and Central Plains into parts of the Midwest. Please note the forecast confidence for this period is above average, according to CPC.