Much has been said about the ongoing drought situation that has been so persistent across not only our state but much of the country. The map on the right, courtesy of the Climate Data Center, is one approach to showing how much moisture would be needed to eliminate the drought. This particular approach takes into consideration not just the moisture needed for the surface soil, but also the moisture that is needed to replenish the subsoil, recharge the groundwater aquifers, and put water back into our streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. For many folks, the tendency is to assume that if we catch a good rain of an inch or two that the drought is over since the ground is wet and all is well. As this map shows, it will take far more than that to get us out of our current drought situation.
Of course, we don't want to catch up all at once either. The best scenario would be for us to receive that much additional moisture over the course of a couple of months so that our moisture reserves are gradually restored. Unfortunately, we are now in our driest time of the year and the prospects for any significant moisture are rather bleak. Notice the second map on the right which indicates a strong dry signal for much of the country right on through December 11.
That is not to say that we will not get any moisture at all, just that what we do receive will be rather spotty and only provide short term relief. For example, we have a cool front on schedule to arrive Monday night and there will likely be some showers/storms associated with that system. Of course, we will take what we can get, but unless something changes this system will not do much to alleviate the drought.
Between now and then, look for much warmer conditions as southerly winds will really warm things up by the weekend. In fact, it will look like rain as the Gulf of Mexico opens up and the low level stratus deck will maintain mostly cloudy skies starting Friday and right on through the weekend. However, only a few light showers are expected until the front arrives Monday night to provide a better chance of showers/storms.
On the other hand, temperatures will not feel much like the beginning of December. In fact, don't be surprised if we set some records with respect to warm overnight lows over the course of the weekend. The cloud cover will be a limitation regarding the daytime highs but 60s and some low 70s are expected during the day with 50s to around 60 at night. Quite a contrast to the frosty mornings we have had lately.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.