Rain helps ease Texas drought but concerns remain

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Several days of rain are headed for drought-plagued Texas, but it’s unlikely the rain will make a dent in the impact caused by the Lone’s Star State’s exceptionally long period of dry conditions.

Up to one inch of rain will fall in the area through early next week due according to Bill Deger, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com. Heaviest amounts can be expected in the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley, including the cities of Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville.

Lighter amounts are anticipated farther north in San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Victoria.

Showers are expected through the daylight hours today, and a steadier rain should being tonight and last into Saturday. The weekend will remain wet with periods of light rain and showers lingering through Monday.

Heather Buchman, another meteorologist with AccuWeather.com, reported that the state’s incredible year-long drought led to wildfires, crop losses and water shortages. Locally heavy rains over the past few weeks have helped ease the drought.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor showed improving drought conditions, which last week showed 83 percent of state is extreme drought condition. This week 77 percent of Texas are experiencing extreme drought.

At one point, less than three months ago, 88 percent of the state was reported in exceptional drought conditions – the highest on the Drought Monitor’s scale of drought severity. Recent rains have helped cut that percentage in half.

Conditions across the state may be improving, but the outlook is grim for most of Texas. AccuWeather.com’s 2011-2012 Winter Forecast shows drier-than-normal conditions expected to remains in western and southern parts of the states. The forecast for northern and eastern Texas shows a better picture as their precipitation is expected to be closer to normal.

Planalytics agreed with the AccuWeather forecast in a recent webcast. The United States is on course to deal with back-to-back La Nina’s, and although not all La Nina patterns are the same, Fred Gesser, Planalytics’ senior global agriculture meteorologist anticipates drought conditions to expand from the Southern Plains into the Western Corn Belt, including Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Missouri.

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