The Low Rolling Plains Climate Division (note Climate Divisions are a NOAA designation and track long-term climate trends), which extends from just south of Canadian, TX down to around Coleman, TX witnessed its wettest Oct-Apr period on record. That’s 7.5” of precipitation above average and is the highest total for that time period since 1895, or 124 years. As many know, this is significant since the Rolling Plains seems often to be the epicenter of drought in the Southern Plains.
East TX has received in excess of 40” between Oct-Apr, which is about 13” over its average (8th wettest on record). Our thoughts and prayers are with all those struggling with the massive amount of rain and flooding they received over the last several weeks.
As we said in the title, we’re trying to look for the good news. With the release of this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor, Texas finds itself drought free for the first time since July 2016. Oklahoma has been drought free since the first of the year. With the exception of South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, all of Texas and Oklahoma have seen precipitation totals way above average for the 2019 Water Year (Oct 2018-Sept 2019).
The probability El Niño will continue through the summer and fall. The majority of the climate models used to predict El Niño/La Niña events are mostly in agreement it will likely persist through 2019. We know, this is the opposite of looking for the good news, but we thought you should know. For those that are interested in the details of the El Niño forecast, NOAA has a good story over at its ENSO Blog.
Over the last 30-days, satellite estimates of the density of “greenness” are confirming vegetation is responding to the wet year we have observed. A significant part of Texas is seeing much higher densities of greening vegetation than what would normally be expected for this time of year (image below). The Panhandle down to West Texas are seeing greenness percentages 125% to 130% of average. The good moisture and warming conditions have grass growing rapidly and should result in solid grazing this year.