Drought easing despite growing water deficit

Released Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor for the week ending March 14 shows that 35 percent of the state remains below optimum soil moisture levels.
That’s unchanged from a week ago, and includes all or parts of five northeastern Texas counties – Lamar, Red River, Delta, Fannin and Hunt.
Twenty-two counties are showing areas of moderate drought.
The assessment from the Texas Water Development Board explains, “As expected, rains in South Texas reduced drought conditions in the Lower Rio Grande Valley; however, drought and abnormally dry conditions expanded in other parts of the state, especially in northeast Texas were severe drought expanded into Red River County.
Precipitation was greatest over south Texas and into portions of Louisiana and Arkansas.
Degradation was also noted over northeast Texas where moderate drought expanded and over northwest Louisiana where moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions expanded.
Abnormally dry conditions also expanded over west Texas and the Panhandle.” During the week ahead, “Drier than normal conditions are anticipated over Texas and the Gulf Coast as well as in Alaska and the upper Midwest, where the greatest probabilities of below-normal precipitation exist.” According to the National Weather Service, a surface low pressure trough will gradually sag southward from the Texas Panhandle into the South Plains early Friday.
A cold front will slide southward near and just after daybreak Friday, with moderately gusty northerly breezes expected, along with drier air.
The region’s next chance at precipitation won’t be until the end of next week, according to forecasters, and that chance is fairly small.
Until then, unseasonably warm temperatures will persist, with strong winds developing across eastern New Mexico next Wednesday.

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