Exceptional Drought Returns to D/FW Metroplex
- Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:32
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The D/FW Metroplex is now in exceptional drought conditions which is the most significant drought level. The last time D/FW was under exceptional drought conditions was back in October 2011. With the driest September on record its not hard to grasp how the drought has become so bad again in D/FW. Wichita Falls has been dealing with the same issue for over a year now as Northwest Texas also continues in an exceptional drought. Severe drought conditions continue in parts of the Hill Country and Texas Panhandle.
Now for the good news: Over a quarter of Texas is officially out of the drought with this week’s update. All of Southwest Texas, much of the Rio Grande Valley, and Southwest Texas are all doing better and have been removed from all drought designations. That does not mean the drought can’t come back quickly if the faucet shuts off. With above average precipitation expected in this winter with a weak El Neno there remains hope we can continue to erode drought conditions and start adding water back to our lakes.
Text summary from the United States Drought Monitor and USDA.
An inch or more of rain fell in parts of the South, with locally 3 inches or more in western and southern Texas. These rains, and rains from previous weeks, helped replenish soil moisture and refill reservoirs, so D0-D3 were contracted in the west and south. On a statewide basis, little change occurred in the topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions, with 53% of topsoil and 61% of subsoil in Texas short or very short of moisture, and 31% of the pasture and rangeland in poor to very poor condition. This is because the week was dry to the north and east, where soils continued to dry and reservoir levels fall, so D1-D4 expanded in parts of north central and northeast Texas and the Texas panhandle. Dallas-Fort Worth had the driest September and ninth driest year-to-date on record. Further to the north, conditions deteriorated in Oklahoma, where 65% of the topsoil and 74% of the subsoil were short or very short of moisture, and 20% of pasture and rangeland were rated poor or very poor. The bone-dry soils in many areas, accompanied by dried up ponds and, in the panhandle, blowing dust, worried agricultural interests. The fact that more (greater percentage) subsoil was dry to very dry compared to topsoil indicated that the region never fully recovered from the drought of 2011-2012. D0-D4 were expanded in several areas across the state.
Saturday’s Weather Roundup – Cold Front pushing through North Texas
- Saturday, 06 September 2014 09:43
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Good morning and happy Saturday! A weak and shallow cold front is currently pushing through north Texas and into the DFW metro area. It will continue to slowly drift south during the day today, eventually stalling and phasing out in the Waco vicinity. Behind the front, temps are currently in the 50 to 60 degree range across the panhandle and south rolling plains. Highs out there today will remain cool due to extensive cloud cover that is expected to keep the area socked in until tomorrow. Here’s a look at the current radar image showing a broad area of rain continuing to impact parts of the south rolling plains and up into western north Texas around Wichita Falls, Vernon and then further south towards Snyder.
Best chances of rain today will be across western north Texas this morning, then shifting south between DFW and Waco and over into west central Texas by later this afternoon. Scattered showers are also expected once again along the coast as a little disturbance travels southwestward over the area. Overall very similar to what’s been experienced the past couple of days. Some of these showers could become strong with gust winds and frequent lightning. Can’t rule out an isolated funnel cloud or two with the amount of moisture still impacting the region. Across far west Texas, best chances for seeing heavy rain will occur later this afternoon then into the overnight hours, then again on Sunday. Flash Flood Watches have been posted for a majority of the west Texas counties and include the cities of El Paso, Pecos, Ft. Davis, Marfa and Presidio.
Highs today will obviously be impacted by both the front and any showers/storms. Overall though, not too bad with the highest readings average in the mid 90’s across the southern half of the state. Nighttime lows will be quite cool across western Texas, the panhandle and western north Texas. We’ll start to warm up again by Monday, but we are still on track to receive a much stronger cold front by the end of this next week, so hang in there!
Wednesday’s Weather Roundup – Hot and Dry for Most, Rain Southeast and Panhandle/West
- Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:00
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Happy Wednesday everyone! Still a hot one, but temps are starting to mellow out just a bit with a few less 100 degree highs showing up on the state-wide forecast grids. Still muggy and quite warm though, with some 100’s scattered across north central Texas and down into southwest Texas. Overnight, the most pleasant lows will be found across the panhandle and western portions of the state with warm and muggy 70’s elsewhere.
Rain chances continue to be on the uptick for the weekend. Here’s the latest precipitation accumulation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center. This is what is expected to fall between now and early Monday morning. While not everyone across the state will benefit from much rain with this next weather system, we are certainly glad to see so much rain forecasted for parts of the panhandle, and especially northwest Texas in and around Wichita Falls where drought is still at its worst. I heard on our local news this morning that Wichita Falls will begin cloud seeding again this week. Their reservoirs are currently running at around 25% of capacity, some lower than that even, so any amount of extra rain they can squeeze out of the atmosphere will be welcomed.
Best rain chances today…panhandle and also across coastal areas thanks to a low pressure system currently sitting just off the coast. This area of low pressure is being monitored by the National Hurricane Center for additional development; however, further development into any sort of tropical system is unlikely. It’s expected to just meander around along the coast for the next several days bringing daily chances of rain to this area through Saturday. Some areas may experience flooding issues over the next several days, so if you live in a flood-prone area down there, you’ll want to pay attention to your local forecast sources and keep an eye on water levels.
That’s it for this morning’s quick roundup! We’ll try to get something out later tonight with our thoughts on the more widespread rain chances expected Friday and Saturday once the latest forecast models arrive after 7pm, so be on the lookout for that this evening.
Saturday Weather Roundup – Scattered Storms Today
- Saturday, 16 August 2014 11:34
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Good morning and happy Saturday! Taking a look at the radar this morning, we have some leftover shower activity bisecting the state from around Wichita Falls all the way down to near Del Rio and back towards Midland/Odessa. This activity will continue its slow march east/southeast for a few more hours before finally dissipating for the most part by this afternoon. For the north central Texas folks…we are not expecting any of this morning’s shower activity to make it into the metroplex, but we do have a chance at pop up storms later in the afternoon. More on that below.
As mentioned yesterday, with high pressure located west over AZ, this puts much of Texas on its eastern periphery. This will allow a couple of weak shortwave disturbances to affect the northern portion of the state by this afternoon, with scattered showers and a few stronger storms possible each day beginning today and lasting through Tuesday. Not a lot of storm coverage, so don’t expect anything widespread, but the atmospheric conditions are favorable for a few that could quickly become strong with downburst winds and lightning as the main threats. Folks across northern Texas who plan to be out boating during the afternoon today and tomorrow will need to keep an eye on the weather as these downburst winds will be possible anywhere near any of the stronger thunderstorm cells that develop. A storm does not have to be right on top of you for you to be impacted by these damaging winds, so definitely be prepared to shelter or get off the lake quickly if any storms develop near your location.
Western portions of the state, including parts of the panhandle , will have additional chances for scattered showers and thunderstorms later this afternoon with monsoonal-type moisture and instability in place as an upper level disturbances passes through this afternoon. Probably not as much rain coverage as yesterday, but better than zero! Lightning, gusty outflow winds and localized flooding under some of the stronger cells will be the main threats here. Some of this activity is expected to linger across west central Texas after dark for a few hours as well.
Our coastal areas also have a chance at widely scattered to isolated showers today along the seabreeze front this afternoon. Pretty typical weather for this time of year! Here’s a look at what the radar might look like by around 4pm this afternoon as we reach peak daytime heating.
Temps today…hot…but typical for this time of year. Heat Index values across south Texas will once again be in the 105+ range which is pretty miserable. Stay hydrated if you have to work outdoors today, and be sure to check on pets and elderly neighbors to ensure their safety. That’s it for now! We’ll keep an eye on things this afternoon and provide updates as necessary if any severe storms develop.
Friday’s Weather Roundup – Rain Chances This Evening
- Friday, 15 August 2014 08:01
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Good morning and happy Friday! I hope everyone is doing the Friday dance! Temps and humidity on the increase today, but we thankfully do have a chance at some showers and storms across parts of the panhandle and western Texas this afternoon and evening. And the chance for additional shower and storm development is on the increase for northern Texas on Saturday and into the first part of next week. High pressure is letting up a bit over our state and has shifted west and centered over AZ/NM. This has put much of our state stuck in the middle between the High out west, and weak troughing to our east. Upper level disturbances riding along the periphery of the high pressure ridge to our west will bring chances for rain and shower development to parts of the panhandle and northern Texas starting today and through at least next Monday or Tuesday. Highest rain amounts will reside across the panhandle, but overall accumulations will be less than 1/4 to 1/2 inch but with isolated higher amounts possible.
Here’s a look at the rain and storm chances possible as we head into the afternoon and evening hours. Looking ahead to Saturday evening looks much the same with a similar setup across the panhandle with additional storm development possible across north central Texas as well. Widespread severe weather is not expected, but a few cells could become strong with gusty downburst winds, frequent lightning and localized flooding issues. We’ll keep an eye on things and keep you up to date later this evening.
Highs today…nudging that much closer to the 100 degree mark for more of central and northern areas of the state. Dallas can expect a high of 98 today, Austin right at 100, Wichita Falls at 101, Sweetwater at 100, San Angelo at 100, Laredo at 104 and McAllen at 101. August in Texas, y’all! Heat index values will also be quite high today for deep south Texas…in the 105 to 109 degree range for much of the region south of San Antonio by 4pm this afternoon. Definitely stay hydrated and try to avoid being out and about during that time if at all possible. That’s all for this morning’s roundup. Have a great Friday and stay cool!