A lack of rainfall over the past forty days has depleted the soil moisture content in East Texas. Consequently, this has caused drought conditions to develop very quickly on the heels of receiving record setting rainfall this past spring.
The U.S. Drought Monitor index shows two areas where a D1 moderate drought has now set in across East Texas. The first area of drought now orients itself from the Palestine and Crockett areas, stretching east through Alto, Wells, and extends east through Mount Enterprise and just north of Center in Shelby county.
The other small patch is located around the Livingston area in southern Polk county.
The areas that are not in a drought are labeled as “abnormally dry.” This is more or less a drought watch, meaning that if we do not receive any significant soaking rains anytime soon, then more areas will be upgraded to a drought.
Coming off a record setting spring when it came to rainfall, it is hard to fathom that our soil moisture content has dried up so quickly. But this is what happens when we get stuck in a rut with a large dome of high pressure sitting on top of us and preventing storm systems and cooling showers from moving into the region. To perpetuate the problem, the months of July and August are the worst times of the year to have this weather pattern develop, namely because it allows the heat to build and quickly dries up any moisture that was still lingering from a month ago.
I often say that it is not how much rain we get, but the timeliness of it that makes a big difference in our soil moisture supply. With only 0.23” of rain recorded at the Angelina County Airport since July 1st, we have gone from feast to famine very quickly.
Unfortunately, we do not see any decent chances for widespread rains in the foreseeable future. That means the heat and dry weather will continue for a few more weeks. That also means the drought could expand and worsen before things improve.
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