Drought’s prolonged impact being felt

Regina Bird

Drought conditions continued to get worse in parts of the central United States in the past month. Unfortunately, the forecast into the next few months doesn’t look to bring much relief.

Looking ahead into December, below average precipitation is expected from Texas to Nebraska.

But even further out through February, the long-term trends look to keep moisture below normal from Texas into southern Nebraska.

As for temperatures, those are forecast to be above seasonal norms in the next month for the southern to central Plains. For the next three months, that trend will continue from Texas into Kansas.

A large part of the U.S. as a whole continues to be impacted by drought conditions with roughly 67% of the continental U.S. considered in some sort of drought as of the last update in November, according to the United States Drought Monitor. To put this in perspective further, statistics from the drought monitor state that over 80 million people live in the area in drought currently.

While the impacts are expansive in the Plains, the National Drought Mitigation Center lists Texas as the state with the most impacts. The National Drought Mitigation Center highlighted some of the many impacts. From north to east Texas, recent reports show drying water sources. Cattle producers in several parts of the state had to begin supplemental feeding. Increased livestock sales were happening in southern Texas. Crops have also had to be replanted in places like the Rio Grande Valley.

In the wider view of conditions, La Niña was ongoing and actually got stronger in October. Long term forecast models continue to hint at the possibility of a strong La Niña into this winter. There continue to be good indications of La Niña remaining even into spring.

I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for January’s update.

Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter @ReginaBirdWX.