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Water + Weather for October 2021 Posted on November 09, 2021


Dr. Nelun Fernando – Manager, Water Availability Program, Texas Water Development Board      

Hello, my name is Nelun Fernando. And I'm bringing you the latest monthly Water and Weather report. Let's take a look at what drought conditions looked like statewide at the end of October.

The Drought Monitor map, released last Wednesday, shows an expansion in areas under the D2 moderate drought categories in North Texas, the northern Panhandle, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and in East Texas. Compared to conditions at the beginning of October, we do see an expansion in areas under drought.

Now let's take a look at rainfall conditions for the month of October. So the areas of the state where we see drought expansion happen to coincide with the areas of the state that saw little to no rainfall in October, and those areas of the state that saw little to no rainfall are those depicted in the browns and yellows on this map. The areas of the state that are free of drought are those areas that are shown in purple and those areas which received over 8 inches of rainfall in October.

So one factor that we have to consider when we talk about water and weather for October and for the winter season ahead of us is the La Niña event that is currently underway. On October 14, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center issued what's known as a La Niña advisory. That means large-scale weather patterns favoring drought conditions are likely to occur. If we had no more information on what the expected weather patterns over the next two weeks to three months' time scale were, we could assume, based purely on the current La Niña event, that the areas that we see under drought currently will persist or potentially worsen. However, this does not mean to say that that is exactly what's going to happen. It's just that the large-scale conditions are such that it's likely that drought will develop over regions that we do not currently see drought or potentially worsen in the areas that we currently see drought.

So we talked about La Niña and the fact that the winter season is likely to be drier and warmer than the long-term average, and this is what drives the seasonal focus of the three-month forecast currently. However, there are some additional forecast products from the National Weather Service that give us an indication of what we might expect over the next week and two-week time period. The 8- to 14-day temperature outlook shows near-normal conditions. What we are likely to see over the next 8 to 14 days is going to be what we would typically see for this time of year based on the past 30 years of data. The 8- to 14-day precipitation outlook also shows that a good two-thirds of the state is likely to be below average for this time period, with East Texas being slightly above average. The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center's three-month seasonal drought outlook, issued on the 21st of October, shows the likelihood of drought conditions developing over much of the state.

And that concludes our monthly Water and Weather report. Until next time, let's keep a lookout and see what La Niña has in store for us.

This article is posted in Weather / Drought .