Summer is officially here, but some have been dealing with summer-like warmth ahead of the actual season.
June started off with some major heat, especially in Texas where temperatures topped out near 100 degrees Fahrenheit for several days at the beginning of the month. Notably, McAllen, Texas, had four days in a row with record high temperatures.
Through the middle part of June, extensive drought conditions continued to be a concern from the panhandle of Texas to the western parts of Oklahoma, into parts of southern and central Kansas.
Through the first part of June, 77 percent of topsoil moisture in Texas was rated as short to very short, with 60 percent in Oklahoma and 48 percent in Kansas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Subsoil moisture was rated similarly with roughly 75 percent considered short to very short in Texas, 60 percent in Oklahoma and 51 percent in Kansas.
We should see some improvement in drought conditions through the next couple of months from central Kansas into western Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas, but it’s not expected that we will see drought conditions completely eliminated.
Through August, precipitation trends look to favor western parts of Colorado with above normal precipitation, while long-term trends don’t currently point toward either above or below normal precipitation for the rest of the plains.
Temperatures through August are still expected to average above normal for all of Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, central and western Kansas and parts of western Nebraska.
Currently, El Niño Southern Oscillation-neutral conditions prevail and are forecast to continue through the summer months. The region of the Pacific Ocean we watch for changes reflects sea surface temperatures mainly near the long-term average which is one sign of ENSO-neutral. Atmospheric conditions also pointed toward ongoing ENSO-neutral.
El Niño ahead?
Early fall through early winter could bring some changes to the set up as long term models are hinting at El Niño developing as we head into that part of the year. If this plays out as currently expected, this could bring wetter and cooler conditions to the southern half of the United States. Although there is some confidence in this change later this year, there are still many factors in play that could cause changes. As summer goes on, we should have a clearer picture.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for next month’s update.
Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. She is a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.