Although precipitation slowed down harvest, it was beneficial in cutting down drought conditions in parts of Kansas.
Early October rainfall also had some positive impacts in Texas and Oklahoma as it improved drought conditions there, too. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Borger, Texas, had a record daily rainfall Oct.8 with Del Rio, Abilene and Dallas-Fort Worth coming in with daily records for rainfall the following day. But late in the month, flooding became an issue in central Texas as more rain continued to fall and weekly rainfall approached 4 to 8 inches.
The long-term trends are showing good news for those who have recently seen improvements to drought conditions as there are not any signs that we should see drought conditions build back in the next few months.
Outside of the Plains, Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida as the third strongest storm (by terms of central pressure) to hit the United States. The USDA said the hurricane left damage to pecans, cotton, vegetables and other crops in the Southeast.
Looking ahead, the month of November looks to favor above normal precipitation for Texas, Oklahoma, southwest Kansas and the southern half of Colorado. November is expected to be warmer than usual for the entire United States.
Above normal temperatures are expected to stay the next several months for Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and central and western Texas.
Precipitation should also stay above normal the next three months for Texas and southern parts of Oklahoma. This is in line with what is typically expected when El Niño is anticipated to be in control.
Globally, the watch for the switch to El Niño is ongoing as scientists watch for changes in sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions. Sea surface temperatures are hinting at changes underway. Once the switch occurs, a weak El Niño is forecast to stick around through the winter.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for next month’s update.
Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.