Some rain falling and the continued lack of rain in other areas remained the biggest concerns within the last month.
Through May 12, some spots had less than an inch of moisture for the year so far including Midland and Amarillo, Texas and Garden City, Kansas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A large fire caused by lightning in the Texas panhandle was also a concern early in May as it burned thousands of acres, based on information from the Texas A&M Forest Service.
As of mid-May, some much needed rain came down in portions of Texas and Oklahoma leading to some improvement, but unfortunately the rain wasn’t as widespread as many would have hoped. Since the deficits in moisture have been so prolonged, it will take a while and many rains to recover completely from current drought conditions in those areas.
Through August, drought is expected to persist or develop from central Kansas into southwest Texas. Although drought conditions will continue, we should see at least some improvement from central Kansas into the western half of Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas.
La Niña is now officially over. We have transitioned to neutral conditions. When ENSO Neutral conditions are present, we are near the average for sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions reflect that as well. ENSO Neutral is considered neither La Niña nor El Niño. ENSO Neutral is forecast to continue through the summer, before we could see changes into winter when there’s a possibility we could see El Niño emerge.
For the month of June, widespread above normal temperatures are expected from Texas to the northern plains.
Above normal temperatures forecast
The longer outlook through August favors above normal temperatures for most of the southern plains into much of Kansas and parts of southern Nebraska.
There are not any strong signals for above or below normal precipitation for much of the area for the month of June. The exception is far southeast Texas where they could see above normal precipitation within the next month.
Further out into the next three months, forecasts currently show the possibility for above normal precipitation in western to central Colorado and much of Iowa. For the rest of the area, there are once again not any strong signals three months out that point toward above or below normal precipitation.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for July’s update.
Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kan. 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