Dry and Drought Conditions Continue to Expand. Further Expansion Expected in Southern Plains

Over the last week Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions expanded from approximately 21% to 43% of the Southern Plains area (KS, OK, and TX). Moderate Drought (D1, lowest drought category) expanded by about 5 percentage points to 9% of the Southern Plains area.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map (two maps below) shows the Southern Plains and the 1-Month Change map (i.e. the change in drought area of the Drought Monitor over the last month).  Yellow/orange colors represent expansion of dry and drought conditions while green colors represent areas where conditions have improved.  South Texas is the only place were conditions have improved but only very slightly.

Drought expansion has been driven by large precipitation deficits going back to the first of June.  In the case of South Texas, their deficits go back to the first of the year.  Temperatures have been running 2-4 degrees (F) above-normal over the last 30-days for much of Far West Texas and the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandle.

Not Much Help on the Way

The 6-10 and 8-14 Day Outlooks are not painting a very pretty picture for the Southern Plains (maps above).  A large subtropical ridge across the region is expected to bring above-normal temperatures throughout  much of the central and eastern part of the country.  The subtropical ridge is expected to expand late next week, which will increase chances for above-normal temperatures across the Mississippi Valley and Southeast.

NOAA is showing the highest probabilities for above-normal temperatures continues to be for the Southern Plains based on the position of the ridge and rapidly drying topsoil.  The strong ridge will likely suppress convection and consequently rainfall across most of Texas during this timeframe.

Over the next two-weeks we will likely see further expansion of drought for parts of Texas and Oklahoma due to above-normal temperatures and increasing precipitation deficits.

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