3:00 PM CDT | August 3, 2018
If Texas weather were a sport, we would be in the offseason right now. Almost every year, there are a couple months in the summer where things just shut down. Most of the state has experienced hot, dry weather for some time now. Parts of the state have been fortunate enough to see some rainfall, but most have continued to sink further into drought. If you live in North Central Texas, you are most likely seeing a LOT of trees turning yellow and brown. Last week, more than 4% of the state was in "Extreme Drought". This week, that number has nearly doubled to around 8.5%. Right now, over 78% of the state is in drought compared to last year when only 26% of the state was in drought.
There is a bit of good news, and that is the ridge will likely weaken and shift farther west by the middle of next week. This will allow temperatures to drop a few degrees with increasing rain chances. The National Weather Service is going conservative with rain chances next Wednesday and Thursday. Best chances (30-50%) are across the northeast quarter of the state during this period, decreasing to around 20% farther south and west. Hopefully, these rain chances will increase and expand in later forecasts as a few models show.
As for long-term drought relief, El Nino is likely to develop this fall. El Ninos *typically* result in wetter than normal conditions for the state. We will have to see how everything begins to set up, especially by October and November. It has been an interesting large-scale weather pattern since last fall. We saw early frosts and freezes last October, then we saw the rare Gulf Coast winter storm in early December. Many locations saw their coldest temperatures in years this past winter. We had a wet February, and then the moisture shut down for a good portion of the state. We had a pretty quiet severe weather season that was followed by a fast warm-up. The heat coincided with the increasingly dry weather pattern late this spring and summer. The only real exception was when that unnamed tropical disturbance dropped a lot of rainfall across the Texas Coast in mid-June. This helped delay the onset of drought for this part of the state, which is just now experiencing early drought conditions. Then we had the streak of mid-100*F's to low-110*F's across much of the state last month. Several locations set multiple daily heat records during that period. Now, temperatures are closer to but still above normal. Hopefully, things start trending in the right direction soon. We will have a better idea of what to expect this winter as we see the fall weather pattern take shape in October and November.