Share this article:
Gusty winds will raise the fire danger across the southern High Plains of the United States into Monday evening, a region largely starved of meaningful rainfall since fall of 2017.
The most recent U.S. drought monitor reveals that severe drought covers a large area from southern Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle to most of the Four Corners region.
A pocket of extreme drought engulfs the northern Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and neighboring parts of southern Kansas.
“To put the dryness in perspective, Feb. 16 marked the 126th-consecutive day without rain in Amarillo, Texas, shattering the previous mark of 75 days from 1957,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts said.
A new record for consecutive days without measurable precipitation was set in Lubbock, Texas, on Feb. 15, “marking the 99th-consecutive day without measurable precipitation,” Eherts said.
The dry streak was then broken late Friday evening as showers returned.
While the rainfall was welcome, amounts in these cities were held to less than 0.25 of an inch. That will barely put a dent in the drought.
More substantial rain fell in between these two cities on Friday. This includes Plainview, Texas, which hit 130 days without measurable precipitation on Feb. 14.
“Similar statistics are emanating out of Oklahoma, where Woodward and Laverne reached 128 days without measurable precipitation on Feb. 15,” Eherts said.
In Oklahoma City, less than 1 inch of precipitation fell between Nov. 1 and Feb. 16, more than 5 inches shy of the normal amount of precipitation for this span.
Similar statistics hold for Wichita, Kansas, where residents have only seen 18 percent of normal precipitation since Nov. 1 of last year.
Farther to the west in Dodge City, Kansas, the period from Oct. 7 to Feb. 13 is the driest on record dating back to 1874 with only 0.15 of an inch of rain. The dry periods from 1880 and 1876 previously held this record.
Lakes, rivers and reservoirs in the southern Plains and Southwest are running well below normal and some are approaching dangerously low levels.
Long-term drought concerns are growing each day that passes without meaningful precipitation.
More rain is in store for the South Central states into Wednesday but the most meaningful rain will miss most of the areas enduring the worst drought conditions.
Instead, the southern Plains will face a heightened fire danger to kick off the week.
"The combination of the prolonged dry spell, gusty winds and low relative humidity heightened the fire danger," AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.
There are no signs that the weather pattern will produce rain in these areas through at least the first few days of March.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
The intense record heat baking the south-central United States is expected to get trimmed back early this week, but a sweep of refreshing air is not on the horizon.
This past weekend's rainstorm was only the start of an abnormally wet pattern that will elevate the flood risk in the eastern United States into the end of the month.
Despite NASCAR moving up the start time of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, rain has hung on and delayed the race at Loudon, New Hampshire.
Yet another round of severe weather is threatening the southeastern United States to close out this weekend.
The remainder of July will be dominated by a resurgence of heat across the northwestern United States.
An uptick in monsoon rainfall is expected to heighten the flood threat across eastern and northern India this week.