After last week’s welcome rains and improvements to short-term dryness and drought in Texas, lingering precipitation from the departing storm system early in the week brought another 0.5-2 inches of rain to northern, eastern, and southeastern Texas, and southeastern Oklahoma, while the Texas Panhandle received 0.1-0.3 inches. Then late in the week, eastern Oklahoma recorded another 0.5-2 inches of rain.
Accordingly, in Texas, some D0 was removed in the north – central Panhandle, northern (along Red River), and southeastern (near Houston) portions. D0 was also removed in eastern Kenedy and Willacy counties as leftover soil moisture from the October deluges plus the lack of persistent lower humidity days away from the coast has kept these two South Texas counties from degrading.
In contrast, mostly dry weather covered the rest of Texas (southwest, south-central, and far south) and Oklahoma (Panhandle and northwest). Where little or no rain fell this week in Texas, D0 persisted and slightly expanded in extreme southwestern, far southern, east-central (going into northwestern Louisiana), and far northeastern Panhandle (continuing into north-central Oklahoma), while D1 expanded into Nueces County.
Although surplus precipitation has fallen since the start of the Water Year (Oct. 1) in much of Texas and Oklahoma, recent short-term (60- and 90-days) dryness, unseasonable warmth, and strong winds have created numerous wild fires (including a 17,000 acre fire in Harper County, Okla., on Feb. 18 when Buffalo hit 91F). In addition, the unseasonable warmth caused the winter wheat crop in Cimarron County, Okla., to break dormancy early, thus producing some stress to the crop due to inadequate topsoil moisture. Therefore, a new D0 area was added in the Oklahoma Panhandle, southeastern Colorado, and southwestern Kansas.
Read more at droughtmonitor.unl.edu…