CNN Meteorologist Sarah Dillingham
Is your region of the country in a drought? Wanna get rid of if? All you need is about 15-18” of rain if you live in the Southeast….pretty easy feat, right? Wrong. This time last year, we were talking about the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s across Texas and Oklahoma, but conditions have improved a bit from then. In fact, earlier in March 2012, East Texas and parts of Louisiana had finally broken their drought after well above average rainfall affected the region. Some locations received as much as 10-17” of rainfall for the month, or up to a foot more than their monthly average!
Now the drought focus is on the Southeast as an ‘Extreme’ to ‘Exceptional’ drought is in place across South Georgia, northern Florida, southeastern Alabama, and southwestern South Carolina, including the ongoing drought over West Texas and eastern New Mexico. ‘Severe’ to ‘Extreme’ drought also exists over South Texas, where they will be receiving heavy rain over the next 24 hours. Some locations across West Texas had already broken their daily rainfall record as of 10 am CT Thursday morning, like Midland, TX who had already seen 2.0” of rain, shattering their daily rainfall record of 1.47”. The rains today could really help these areas of south Texas put a dent in their drought across the region, but there will still be a deficit of a few inches as they would need about 3-9” to end their drought. Looking at the image above, much of the West is seeing drought conditions develop and persist after the lack of winter season snowfall in the higher elevations and low rainfall across the Desert Southwest. The cooler, wetter conditions over the last few weeks haven’t helped much except for the Pacific Northwest. At least a few locations will see some help over the next few days. The low pressure system currently affecting south Texas today will slowly shift to the east and into the Southeast by the weekend, and help give them a push in the right direction. Stay tuned!