The drought monitor over the last couple of months has warranted frequent updates. This is because each update of the monitor it continues to get worse; Not only for our area, but also the rest of the southeast. Plus the outlook going forward is not too promising either…
We started drying out in September and since the end of September we have only had one day of measurable rain earlier this month, and measurable might even be a stretch as we only received .02” of rain. That is for Mobile, there are some spots in our area that probably have not seen any rain since September.
The lack of rain has forced portions of our area into extreme drought, one away from the top tier. The last update majority of our area was in moderate drought, now most of our area is in severe drought with only a few spots in moderate drought. However, that very well may change at the rate things are going.
Speaking of the way things are going, the short term outlook is not promising. We do have a chance for rain tonight as a cold front will be moving in, but all signs show that any soaking rain will break up before the front arrives. This is what we call a dry cold front, because of the Gulf of Mexico, fronts usually do carry rain when they arrive here, but dry fronts very well may be the norm going forward.
As the seasons switch we should be getting more cold fronts. In theory this should give us more shots for rain, but at least in the short, most cold fronts look to be on the dry side.
On top of how dry things are, there is another issue with dry cold fronts… Fire weather. Things are already extremely dry and it wouldn’t take much to spark a fire. With lowering relative humidity and gusty winds, there will be ingredients together to potentially spark a fire, but also with winds after a dry cold front, potential fires could be fanned by the extra wind.
Is there any relief in sight? The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any hope. The reason the outlook looks so bleak is because of an emerging La Nina. On average a La Nina means a warmer and drier winter for us along the Gulf Coast. This is based upon averages, this does not explain what can happen from day to day though.
The original forecast for La Nina was to be a strong one, but the La Nina that has emerged is weak so this might mean that we could potentially see more rain. Plus La Nina’s usually last about a year, but this La Nina is only forecast to last a handful of months. Both of those are good news when it comes to the longer term outlook, but in the short-term, there is a good chance the drought gets worse before it gets better.
For more on La Nina and the potential for fire weather please click here: http://wkrg.com/2016/11/12/la-nina-advisory-posted-does-this-mean-worsening-drought/
To stay up to date with the latest on the drought monitor click here: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/