Joel's Blog: Rain slowly improves drought situation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Joel's Blog: Rain slowly improves drought situation

Heaviest rainfall concentrated over the Ohio Valley into Texas. Isolated heavier amounts found over Biloxi and Gulfport. Heaviest rainfall concentrated over the Ohio Valley into Texas. Isolated heavier amounts found over Biloxi and Gulfport.
Drought conditions as determined by rainfall picked up before Tuesday, March 10. Drought conditions as determined by rainfall picked up before Tuesday, March 10.
We've reached our monthly rainfall average, but there's still a deficit of just over one inch. We've reached our monthly rainfall average, but there's still a deficit of just over one inch.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Ask anyone across South Mississippi about last week's weather, and most people would agree that it was pretty miserable. The combination of overcast conditions and plenty of rainfall that seemed like it would never end made this weekend's sunshine a welcome sight to all of us.

Despite the gloomy weather, it was beneficial to the water table. Most of South Mississippi has been in a moderate drought for the past several months. Since last June, the only month that we have seen a surplus in rainfall was January. In February, we fell several inches short of where we should be. But this past week brought some improvements. It wasn't enough to bring us to our year to date average, but we still have the rest of March to get there.

Believe it or not, the drought situation has not been completely resolved. It's awfully difficult to believe that after some locations picked up over five inches of rain in five days, we could still need more rain. The fact is, we do, but we need a break first.

In one of the maps attached to this story, you'll find a graphic showing how much rainfall we've picked up across the eastern half of the nation in the past two weeks. The main swath of the heavy rainfall stretched through the Ohio Valley, southwest through Arkansas and North Texas. Here in South Mississippi, the swath of greatest rainfall totals stretched from Biloxi and Gulfport to parts of George and Stone Counties.

If you look at the Drought Monitor, you can see that some of this rainfall was taken into account. The improvements we have seen were concentrated in the same areas that picked up the greatest amount of rain. However, this map only includes the amounts we picked up through Tuesday, March 10. As we all know, the rain lasted through the rest of the week. That being said, our Drought Monitor map does not give us a clear picture of the current drought situation. Stay tuned for an update on this map later in the week.

What kind of improvements can we expect? There will be some, but even with the additional rainfall from last week; the saturated ground wouldn't have been able to absorb that water. Therefore, most of the rain we picked up later in the week has run off into the Gulf of Mexico without benefiting the soil moisture. We need more time to dry up before we pick up any additional rainfall. Luckily, it looks like that is finally going to happen and some of us have better rain chances later in the week and into the weekend.

Be sure to stay tuned to WLOX and WLOX.com for the most up-to-date information concerning this week's rain chances.

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