March provided some noticeable moisture to the Plains

Regina Bird

From dust storms to winter storms to thunderstorms, it was another month with a wide array of weather events covering the Plains.

Several large systems rolled through the Plains during the month with a range of impacts depending on where you were located.

Texas and Oklahoma already dealt with several days of severe weather during March with some spots seeing large hail, strong winds and confirmed tornadoes.

Dust storms were also an issue several days in Texas. A large system was actually able to carry dust from the southern Plains into Kansas and Nebraska where rain was falling with the system, leading to thin layers of muddy buildup as the rain came down.

The parade of systems in the Plains did bring benefits for some. Widespread rounds of moisture brought some drought relief during March. Portions of central and eastern Texas, southern Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska all noted improvement in drought, including some areas cleared from drought categories, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Parts of central Nebraska even marked the wettest March on record.

Although we are seeing some breaks in drought conditions in parts of the central Plains now, the long term trends point toward the possibility of that drought redeveloping in the next few months. This would apply to most of Texas and the western halves of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. These are also the areas that are favored for below average precipitation for April. Longer term forecast trends keep precipitation below seasonal norms through June.

Looking into the future for temperatures, most of the lower 48 is forecast to see above average temperatures not only for April, but through the next few months as well.

Now that we’ve entered spring, this looks to be our possible transition period to ENSO-Neutral after we’ve had La Niña conditions reflected in specific atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Once this change occurs, it’s expected to last through at least the summer, with more uncertainty beyond that time.

I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for May’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: @Regin