January 30, 2023

Texas flag image rotated 90 degrees with water replacing the blue portion.

Image: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Last week’s rains were instrumental in reducing most of the drought risk in North Texas.

Driving the news: The US Drought Monitor releases new data every week to show how different parts of the country are being affected by different degrees of drought.

The big picture: North Texas was listed as unusually dry or in a drought through late November, but yesterday’s new drought monitor map shows improvements across the region since last Thursday.

Why it matters: The recent rain should bring some relief after months of dry conditions that slowed crop production, increased the risk of grass fires and drying out pastures for cattle.

Threat Level: Prior to last week, parts of central Texas were in extreme drought, and the San Antonio area was experiencing exceptional drought conditions that resulted in reduced honey production and burn bans.

  • Dallas County was doing well, but Denton, Tarrant, Johnson and Ellis counties were unusually dry.
  • The western parts of Tarrant and Johnson counties were in a moderate drought, one notch above the unusual drought.
Source: US Drought Monitor

Game Status: Most counties in north Texas no longer experience dryness or drought, and the state’s most intense drought conditions are southwest of Austin, according to the US Drought Monitor.

Remarkable: August and November were unusually wet months for North Texas, according to the National Weather Service.

  • 10.7 inches were measured at DFW Airport in August, the wettest August in over 100 years. And most of it came in one day.
  • Last month saw another 6.4 inches of rainfall, the wettest November since 2015, with nearly double the rainfall of last November.

Yes but: Despite all the rain in August and November, it took a while for the drought conditions to reverse in our area as the rain initially addressed a large deficit.

  • “Not only do we have to look at where it’s raining or how much it’s raining, but also how much of a deficit we have,” Juan Hernandez, a weather forecaster at the Dallas-Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service, told Axios.

The big picture: The National Weather Service predicts that conditions in La Niña will persist throughout the winter and will be responsible for below-average rainfall in the southern part of the country from California to Florida.

What’s next: Get ready for a “temperature roller coaster ride” in North Texas, says Hernandez. Current forecasts for the next few weeks show warmer-than-usual temperatures mixed with cold fronts, he says.

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