NORTH TEXAS SETS NEW DROUGHT RECORD
August 30, 2000 North Texas has broken a 50 year drought record with 60 consecutive days without precipitation at the official Dallas-Fort Worth rainfall measuring site.
The previous record of 58 consecutive days was set in 1934 (May 25 - July 21) and repeated in 1950 (Nov. 4 - Dec. 31). This record-setting period is the third summer in a row with extended heat and drought conditions. There were 56 rainless days in 1999, and 1998 saw the driest April through September on record in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The current dry pattern is due largely to a persistent area of high pressure that has dominated North Texas weather since the end of June. The pattern blocks the more normal moisture flows across the south. This pattern is common even with a weaker La Niña, as we have now. Meanwhile, La Niña's cooler than normal waters in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific continue to influence upper air patterns across the southern United States. However, La Niña conditions are significantly weakening at this time.
Bill Proenza, NOAA's National Weather Service Southern Region director, notes the continuing drought is not only devastating Texas but is having a severe impact in the southern United States. "While southern wildfires have not been as plentiful as those in the west, the drought conditions in this region are even more extreme. The lack of rain has dramatically decreased soil moisture in the south. Agriculture across the southern United States is suffering," he said.
The current forecast calls for continued clear skies and daily temperatures peaking around 100 degrees as a stationary high pressure area over the southern plains continues to block rain systems from reaching Texas.
Proenza says, "We do see
some signs of lower temperatures and increased chances of rain
towards the end of the first week of September. Air and wind
patterns are changing during that week which gives us hope for
some cooler temperatures and rainfall."