As the typically hot summer season gets underway, the Mid-South continues to deal with a growing drought problem that unfortunately shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. Though parts of the area have received some helpful and significant rain in the last few weeks from passing storm events, rainfall deficits continue to generally increase, and the drought’s severity has begun to accelerate in response.
In the latest U.S. Drought Monitor dated June 19, the metro area now stands in “Moderate” to “Severe” drought conditions. Locally, the worst drought conditions exist in the Crittenden County area as well as the northwest Mississippi Delta. Severe drought conditions have also grown to include nearly all of Arkansas as well as northwest Tennessee. Southwest TN, the biggest beneficiary to some of our recent rains, fares slightly better under the moderate drought. Still, this marks a deterioration of conditions there too.
|U.S. Drought Monitor as of June 19. Metro conditions range from "Moderate Drought" (tan) to "Severe Drought" (orange).|
|How much rainfall is needed to end the drought. Image courtesy of Beau Dodson/WeatherObservatory.com|
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the situation will improve soon. The short-term forecast (next 5-7 days) offers near zero rain chances as temperatures soar to the mid and even upper 90s. Long-term forecasts don’t offer much hope either with above normal temperatures and near to below normal precipitation over the next 1 to 3 months. As such, the Climate Prediction Center indicates our drought persisting or intensifying through the end of September.
|The seasonal drought outlook through September 30. Drought conditions are expected to persist or intensify.|
In these situations it often takes the remnants of a tropical system moving through the area to break the drought. While Tropical Storm Debby did develop yesterday in the central Gulf of Mexico, its track remains very uncertain due to a wide range of solutions offered by computer models. Chances are that we would receive little if any rain from this storm no matter it's track given the intensity and persistence of high pressure overhead. We will continue to monitor Debby’s progress and let you know if that changes.
Stay with MemphisWeather.Net for up-to-date information on our worsening drought, the summer heat, Tropical Storm Debby, and all things weather affecting the Memphis area and the region as a whole!
|Latest track of Tropical Storm Debby, courtesy National Hurricane Center|
--Kevin Terry, MemphisWeather.Net
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