Forecasters Believe Area Drought Conditions Have Chance to Ease

2000px-US-NationalWeatherService-Logo.svg.pngBy BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor

A forecaster with the National Weather Service in Shreveport sees a chance drought conditions in Northeast Texas could lessen, but it is not certain.

“What I can tell you based on personal experience,” Aaron Davis told the Jimplecute, “is that in the transition seasons we get a lot more Gulf moisture.”

Officially, the outlook appears a muddle of average.

“The temperatures look like about a 50 percent chance of above average months for fall and winter months for northeast Texas,” Davis said. “They call for equal chances for precipitation.”

Davis explained an “equal chance” means the amount of rain could be normal, above normal or below normal.”

Looking ahead to the first weekend of November, deer hunters should expect normal conditions.

“Typically we see average high temperatures during the first week of November in low 70s with average overnight temperatures in the upper 40s,” Davis said.

The average precipitation for this area during November is 4.5 inches.

“Fronts bring cooler weather and an increased chance of precipitation,” Davis said.

Severe drought conditions across the region still concern forecasters.

Jason Hansford, Lead Forecaster, climate focal point at NWS Shreveport, developed the drought report for the area.

“After observing much above normal rainfall over the Four State Region through the first six months of 2019, much below normal rainfall has fallen over portions of the area since July. In addition, much above normal temperatures observed during August and September have only enhanced the developing flash drought, especially across portions of East Texas, extreme Southern Arkansas, and Northwest Louisiana,” Hansford stated.

Summer months saw an end to rainfall across Northeast Texas. Below normal rainfall again fell during September, especially across much of East Texas, North Louisiana, and Southwest Arkansas.

The September 26th issuance of the U.S. Drought Monitor has depicted severe drought (D2) conditions in place, with a small area of moderate drought (D1) conditions depicted surrounding the severe drought area across Central Cherokee, Northern Rusk, Western Gregg, Marion, much of Cass, Southern and Eastern Bowie, Northern Morris, Southeast Titus, Western Camp, and Southeast Wood Counties in East Texas.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS

Burn bans are in effect for Bowie, Morris, Upshur, Smith, and Cherokee Counties in East Texas, Miller, Lafayette, Columbia, Union, Nevada, and Hempstead Counties in Southwest Arkansas, as well as Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Desoto, Sabine, Natchitoches, Red River, Bienville, Union, and Caldwell Parishes in North Louisiana.

Fire danger will remain moderate to high across the region through at least the first week of October.

AGRICULTURE IMPACT

Soil moisture is much below normal across the severe drought stricken areas of East Texas, Southern Arkansas, and Northwest Louisiana, which has resulted in fair to poor pasture and rangeland conditions. Soybeans and cotton continued to decline from the heat and lack of moisture.

Given the lack of soil moisture, some farmers were about two weeks behind in planting their winter wheat, while stock pond levels have been reduced as well. The recent rainfall associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda may allow producers to get one more cutting of hay before the season ends, especially over portions of East Texas.

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