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Drenching the Drought

Drenching the Drought

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, May 28, 2015/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment, climate change

               Regional Precipitation Measurements April 20-May 19, 2015  (credit: NASA  IMERG satellite data)

In 2014, 90% of the state of Texas was in drought conditions with 40% being extreme. The state of Oklahoma wasn't far behind. In May 2015, storms have hit both states and elsewhere in the southeast and reduced the drought total to 30% with none in extreme status. Rainfall measurements were gathered by satellite data between April 20th to May 19 and it is still raining. The map showing the extent of the rain is impressive

The water statistics are also impressive. According to NASA, as of May 19th large parts of "Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have been soaked by as much as 20 inches of rain in the past 30 days. Several cities are approaching their wettest May on record. On every day from May 5–21, at least one Texas weather station recorded at least 4 inches of rain." The National Weather Service added that by May 27th, 35 trillion gallons of water has fallen on the state, enough to cover all of Texas in 8 inches of water.

Climate change models all predict that the increase in severity and intensity of storms and other extreme weather will be a consequence of increased atmospheric CO2. The amplitude of extreme heat, cold, wet or dry weather will be accentuated. A warmer atmosphere also has the increased capacity to hold more moisture. While the drought in Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere has been drenched, it is unlikely that this round of severe rainfall will last much longer before another extreme event occurs. At least that seems to be the hope of the people in the Southeast.


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