10/24/2023, 8:45 am EDT

U.S. Soil Moisture Outlook: Rainfall deluge ahead for Texas as drought begins to ease.

Fig. 1: Rainfall needed to neutralize dry Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and 2-week trend. Discussion: During the past 2 weeks, rainfall required to neutralize dry PDSI lowered significantly due to a wet pattern across the Midwest U.S. drought zone (Fig. 1). Rainfall required to end dry PDSI improved dramatically from eastern Nebraska/Iowa eastward to Illinois and across the Ohio Valley to West Virginia. Improvement was also dramatic in Georgia to northern Florida. However, the drought centered on Texas worsened sharply from the central Texas Coast to near and west of Dallas in northern Texas plus much of the Mid-south States. Big changes are on the way! The GFS 15-day percent of normal precipitation forecast indicates a stormy El Nino climate arrives! The outlook indicates several to as much as 8 inches of rain across Texas and Oklahoma with heavy amounts extending northeastward to the Midwest States (Fig. 2). Included is 4-8 in. of snow across western Nebraska and over 1 foot of snow for North Dakota to northern Minnesota. The rainfall deficits across western and central Texas will diminish significantly in this wet pattern. The GFS indicates many rainfall episodes throughout the 15-day forecast. The wetter pattern is likely a sign of the climate pattern ahead as early winter approaches. The 3-month soil moisture forecast indicates the Texas drought may ease completely by January (Fig. 3). Fig. 2: The GFS 15-day percent of normal precipitation outlook for the eastern half of the U.S.    Fig. 3: SPI6 January 2024 U.S. soil moisture outlook eliminates the Texas drought.