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Good rains or dry as ever?

You may think that we’ve had good rainfall in recent weeks.  Or you might feel it’s been as dry as ever.  Across the High Plains either situation could be the case.  While the latest drought maps shows general improvement across the region, a closer look shows a very hit or miss picture with the percentage of normal precipitation varying widely from locale to locale. 

According to the latest drought maps from the National Drought Mitigation Center (see slide show above), improvements were made in portions of the Texas panhandle and west Texas where the recent rains along with a generally wet pattern helped to improve conditions.  In the Oklahoma panhandle, the D4 (exceptional drought) area increased to the east as several counties missed out on many of the recent rain events in the region and have season low precipitation totals.

Another week of very heavy rain amounts over much of Kansas allowed for a full category improvement of much of the drought status in the state, especially in the central and east.  Some counties reported several stations with 5+ inches of rain last week. Not all areas of Kansas received the beneficial rains as most of western Kansas missed out again last week.  Overall, there was quite a bit of jostling of drought conditions in Kansas where some areas had improvements, while others had degradations. By the end of the month, 25 percent of the state remained in the D4 (exceptional) designation, however.

Rain in Colorado has allowed for improvements, most noticeably in the D4 conditions in the southeastern part of the state. In addition, some of the D3 (extreme drought) areas in the eastern part of the state improved as did some D2 (severe drought) conditions in the west-central part of the state.  In western Nebraska, D3 areas decreased and D4 areas were nearly eliminated.

A look at state maps showing percentage of normal precipitation for the last 30 days (see below) show just how hit-and-miss rainfall has been across the HPRR service area.  In each state the percentages ranged from over 150% to less than 5% of average, depending on the locale.

Texas and Oklahoma (state level maps not available)