This year trending drier-than-normal
Published 8:30 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022
By Skip Rigney
Each week the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) analyzes precipitation trends, soil moisture, stream flow, and crop conditions. The result is a map showing broad-scale areas that are in drought, as well as regions that are abnormally dry and have some risk of moving into a drought. The weekly analysis focuses on conditions extending back weeks and months, so that even though it may have rained in an area during the prior week, drought or abnormally dry conditions may still be present.
Each week thus far in 2022, NDMC has placed most of the southernmost part of Mississippi, including Pearl River County,into the “abnormally dry” category. The classification of “abnormally dry” is the least severe of the categories used to describe conditions by NDMC. Increasingly more serious classifications are moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional drought.
Although rainfall in many locations in the county was about average in February and April, that rain wasn’t able to erase deficits that began in November and were aggravated by an especially dry January. Rainfall has been less in the southern part of the county than in the north.
That’s quite a flip from last year when southern Pearl River County had one of its wettest years on record with much wetter-than-average conditions occurring from March through September.
Since November 2021 dry conditions have extended across most of the north-central and northwest Gulf Coast, with the most serious rainfall deficits developing to our west in south Louisiana and Texas. Many locations in those regions are experiencing moderate to severe drought with significant expanses of extreme drought. Moving further west and north in Texas, some locations even fall into the exceptional drought range.
Detailed maps and explanations of NDMC’s drought analyses are available online at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.
No rain fell in Pearl River County for six straight days beginning May 6th before some light scattered showers settled the dust on Thursday afternoon and evening. Forecasters expected an abundance of warmth and humidity, along with a weak stalled front, to continue the chance of showers Friday and Saturday.
However, by Sunday intensifying high pressure will drive down shower chances, with those chances becoming slim to none during the upcoming work week. High temperatures in the 90s will only accelerate evaporation of the meager moisture that the soil and vegetation has been able to store so far this year.