Are You Cirrus, Ron Roberts? This Forecast Is Breaking My Heart!
They say that April showers bring May flowers, but it is looking like our gardens may be bare for the rest of spring.
In case you missed it, KAMC's Chief Meteorologist Ron Roberts posted yesterday that we’re about to break some new records. Sadly, while he rained on our parade, it won't actually be raining anytime in our future.
From the constant dust to the lack of rain, many West Texans are praying for a change. While we do expect severe storms to pop up at some point in the coming months, this year is looking eerily similar to 2011. So will 2022 be the new driest year on record?
The Drought of 2011 Versus Now
2011 is Lubbock's driest year on record. Throughout those 365 days, we received a measly 5.86 inches of rain. 1917 ranked as the second driest year with 8.73 inches, followed closely by the 8.81 inches we received in 2003.
Jumping ahead to now, we are actually looking worse than the start of 2011. In fact, if Ron's forecast pans out this week, aka we receive no rainfall, this will be the driest start to the year (January through April) in Lubbock's recorded history.
So far only 0.38 inches of rain has fallen in the past four months. By this time in 2011, we had more than doubled this amount, with a recorded 0.84 inches of precipitation. For reference, the average amount we should see by the end of April is 3.73 inches.
Moreover, our current drought is also much worse. A side by side comparison of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that in April of 2011 (left photo), the highest drought category for the South Plains was an Extreme Drought, but this was limited to the far southern portion of the viewing area.
In contrast, this year (right photo) we already have a large portion of the area in the Exceptional Drought category with the remainder of the region under the Extreme Category. These are the highest levels of drought on the scale.
What Does Lubbock's Favorite Meteorologist Think?
Of course, we all know that Ron Roberts is hoping for some rain. He gets fired up every spring over the normally prevalent thunderstorms. I should know, he was my first boss back in the historic drought of 2011, then later my competition. Unfortunately, his forecast is coming up dry with more sunshine and hotter temperatures in our future.
This lines up pretty perfectly with my forecast and the predictions brought by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC). As Ron would say, BRILLIANT! Needless to say, you better get out that thunderstorm tie, Ron -- we need as much luck as we can get!
Our Future Outlook -- What This Means For Lubbock
Looking ahead, the CPC is forecasting that the next 30 days will bring temperatures well above average and precipitation totals well below the norm. This does not bode well for our lawns, our allergies and, most importantly, our area crops.
Farmers depend on certain types of weather occurring throughout the year in order to yield a good harvest. This also relates directly to the consumer because when agriculture production is low, prices at the store will skyrocket.
Additionally, homeowners will likely be looking at water restrictions this summer and water rates will likely rise to encourage folks to conserve. Furthermore, on October 17th, 2011, we experienced a haboob of mighty proportions. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw more of these types of dust storms in our future.
Finally, record temperatures are also likely in the forecast this summer, so sun safety will be imperative. Will 2022 be the new driest year on record? Only time will tell, but right now, our forecast is not looking very bright.
Make sure to stay tuned for updates. I will be sure to bring you the latest on your weather outlook.