Farm Director KC Sheperd is visiting with State Climatologist Gary McManus about upcoming weather conditions and trends in the state.
The Southeastern half of the state, McManus said, has received some pretty good weather recently, but those Northwest of I-44 may be in some trouble in terms of moisture.
“The Northwestern half of the state continues in this growing drought situation, intensifying drought,” McManus said.
Although there has been rain over the last few days for that area northwest of I-44, McManus said it was not widespread enough to create any improvements on the drought monitor map.
McManus said La Nina is finished, at least on the oceanic side, but the atmosphere has not fully changed back to neutral conditions yet.
“It is slowly going away,” McManus said. “It will slowly go back to neutral conditions.”
As the summer months approach, McManus said there is no way to tell if this summer will yield any rain just yet.
“There is no indication of any sort of anomaly for precipitation,” McManus said. “What we do see, however, which is troubling, is an increased odds of above normal temperatures.”
Above-normal temperatures, McManus said, can increase drought conditions even if there is normal rainfall throughout the summer.
“If you have above normal temperatures, that evaporates soil moisture, it wilts plants, it does tend to feed those drought conditions,” McManus said. “That is something that we see in the outlooks that we definitely don’t want to have occur.”
While there have been trends of lower-than-normal severe weather over the past month or so, McManus said he expects a lower severe weather season going forward, although it is hard to tell as of now.
“As long as we have that drought across the northwestern half of the state, without the green up that goes along with any sort of rainfall, the fire danger will continue to be a problem,” McManus said.