Will There be April Showers?
You know how the saying goes…April showers bring May flowers (and hopefully green rangelands). Will April come through for us in regards to precipitation across the USA or will we see the drought worsen in many areas?
Before we get into the nitty gritty details of April, let’s review this past March as it is important to see how the weather patterns are trending this year compared to last. As we know, January through March 2012 was the start of a very dry and warm period across almost all of the lower 48 states as you can see in the graphic below. Early 2012 really got the wheels in motion that led to a rapidly worsening drought situation in many areas during the spring and summer of 2012.
Now, let’s take a look at January through March of 2013 in the image below.
The change from hot and dry to cooler and wetter is quite striking when comparing the time periods of 2012 and 2013. While we have not received enough precipitation to put a significant dent into the drought, especially in the central plains, the cooler and more moist weather pattern in many areas has held the drought at bay and even in a few areas there has been some small relief (especially in the southeastern states).
It is important to point out the differences between the years to show that as we head into the spring and summer of 2013 we are in a better position than compared to last year. Granted, we have a long way to go for many, however, this trend toward colder temperatures and more moisture than early 2012 is encouraging. The colder temperatures have led to lower evaporation rates and we should head into the early summer season not as hot as in 2012.
If we are to put a big dent or two into the drought we will need lots of April showers and some good old fashioned slow moving spring storms over the next four weeks and into May as well. April, May and June in many areas of the central USA are the wettest months of the year, so the next 90 days are critical.
Looking ahead into the next ten days we are encouraged that some April showers are on the way, especially for the central and southeastern states as well as the central Rockies as you can see in the precipitation forecast below. There is some hope that some very dry areas of eastern NM and west TX may be able to finally get some measurable precipitation as well as portions of western NE and eastern WY.