Driest and Wettest Counties: 2019 Water Year Recap

2019 Water Year

As we get close to October we thought it  would be interesting to take a look at the 2019 Water Year.  If you recall, the Water Year runs from Oct 1st to Sep 30th of the following year.  On Monday, (Sep 30th), we will wrap up the 2019 year, which for many has been very wet.  As always, though, there are also several areas there were very dry.

The map below shows the percent of average precipitation for each county in the Contiguous U.S. (CONUS) from Oct 1, 2018 to Sep 27, 2019.

We see the Plains and Midwest and parts of the West observed precipitation way above what normally would be expected.  In some cases some counties were close to 200% of average or almost double what they normally receive for the water year.

Wettest and Driest Counties

The chart below shows the wettest and driest counties.  As many remember, the late winter and spring were extremely wet in the Midwest and Northern Plains.  On the other side of the precipitation coin, South Texas, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest experienced below-average precipitation.

There’s always winners and losers when it comes to precipitation and this year most of the “winners” were in cattle country.  Too much moisture, however, presented its own challenges.  The wet/cold winter and spring led to problems with calving and mud, washy forage, and loss of performance in the feed yard.

Counties with 50K Head of Cattle Mostly Wetter than Normal

The chart below breaks down the major cattle producing counties (50K or greater) by precipitation.  The dashed line shows 100% or what would be expected in an average year.  It’s clear most of cattle country experienced a pretty wet year.  As noted earlier, some exceptions were in Texas and the Southwest.

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