New Drought Outlook Shows Persistence

AMARILLO -- It's spring, and we've already seen a few showers and thunderstorms, so the immediate instinct is to expect more rain through the season. The outlook from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center is not quite so promising.

The dusty conditions make it hard to hope for rain.

"When you talk to farmers and ranchers, the profile of the soil is dry from the surface down to several feet so each time we get a little bit of a wind, the soil becomes airborne again," said KAMR NBC4 Chief Meteorologist John Harris.

The rain we've picked up hasn't been enough, and we are not in an El Nino phase, which would bring us more than average. The best we can hope for right now, is to get close to that number.

"For the Panhandles, it would be great, if we could get something along near normal for precipitation, especially during April, May, and June during our peak precipitation time," said Jose Garcia, Meteorologist-In-Charge for the Amarillo Office of the National Weather Service.

That's when we have the best chances for widespread rainfall, from thunderstorms. Though we appreciate every little bit of rain, we need it to be more aggressive. Some help isn't much if it's not consistent.

Last summer, July and August, we had enough rainfall to catch up for the year, but once it stopped coming, the effects of the drought returned.

There is a chance an El Nino will develop in the coming months, but at this point, it wouldn't help us until the Winter and next Spring. That could make severe weather more frequent, in 2015.

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