The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

April 2, 2011

Rain, rain went away

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — Last month wasn’t the driest March ever in Greenville, but it didn’t miss the mark by much.

Depending on the measurement used, Hunt County is either an extreme drought, or is in fair shape in terms of an overall drought situation. What is clear is that there was virtually no rainfall recorded locally during March and not much more is expected during the rest of the spring.

According to the automated weather observation system at Majors Field Municipal Airport, the official monitoring site for Hunt County used by the National Weather Service, Greenville received only fifteen-hundredths of an inch of precipitation during March.

The eight-hundredths of an inch of drizzle recorded Tuesday helped raise the total above the all-time driest local March on record, in 1925, when just twelve-hundredths of an inch was received. The average local rainfall during March is 3.67 inches.

Late Thursday night, the National Weather Service issued a new drought information statement, indicating the Hunt County and the surrounding area has been included under the 43 percent of the state listed under an extreme drought, the greatest since the 2005-2006 drought.

The seasonal drought outlook indicates the drought situation is expected to intensify during April, May and June, which are typically the three wettest months of the year in North Texas.

On the other hand, according to the Keetch-Byram Drought Severity Index, which measures soil moisture, Hunt County had an average reading Friday of 341, with the driest areas in the county at 453 and the wettest at 177.

A reading of 500 or higher is considered drought conditions and 800 is the highest reading on the scale, meaning that it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation.

Hunt County is currently not under a ban on outdoor burning.

There is a chance of some relief on the way. The National Weather Service Forecast was calling for a good chance of showers and thunderstorms in the area Monday morning.