Ag-Ruminating About Our Region Being Dry…Again

It’s been more than seven weeks since our region has had any significant rainfall, and concern about dry conditions is intensifying.

Back on Friday, Oct. 6, Amarillo received 16-hundredths of an inch of precipitation, according to National Weather Service statistics. In all the time since then, the city has accumulated only 6-hundredths of an inch more.

What a year this has been! We’ve now had three prolonged dry spells in 2017, but along the way we’ve also had periods of torrential rain that have made this an exceptionally wet year, at least from a statistical perspective. Back when we got that last good rain I mentioned above, things were so wet people were getting frustrated by harvest delays. Now, we’re talking about rapidly declining conditions for winter wheat.

Looking at bottom line numbers, at 26.48 inches, Amarillo’s year-to-date total precipitation is still 6.92 inches above normal. But, we’re actually running 1.94 inches below normal during this current dry spell, which has now reached the 50-day mark.

How much longer before we break out of this spell? Not any time soon, it would appear. The unfortunate reality is we’re back in a La Nina pattern. And, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, odds are good La Nina will persist through the winter:

Any experienced farmers and ranchers out there with advice to give on the best ways to survive drought conditions? If so, you can email me at

Soggy conditions were the issue back in October. 

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