Ag-ruminating about Weird Weather

If I say this is the most bizarre year for Texas Panhandle weather ever, that’s almost assuredly an exaggeration. I’m no meteorologist or weather historian, so I can’t go that far. But I don’t think I’ll have very many disagree with me, when I say that this has been a very strange year.

Through yesterday (October 5th), Amarillo’s total year-to-date for precipitation was 26.46 inches. That’s an eye-popping 8.76 inches above normal. Being that far above normal is exceptional enough in its own right to make this a newsworthy year for weather. To fully grasp how unusual this year has been, however, consider the following sequence of events that has occurred.

In the early part of the year, we suffered through a severe dry spell that spawned deadly wildfires in March. Then we went through a period of rains so generous experts expressed astonishment at how quickly grazing lands bounced back from the fires. About the time we were getting all happy about that, we had the freak snowstorms in the last weekend of April that damaged area wheat crops.

Continuing on down the calendar, in late spring and early summer we endured another excruciating dry spell that caused much of the region to fall into severe drought conditions in July. Next, as despair about crop stress was beginning to escalate, the proverbial floodgates opened and the region started racking up rainfall records, day by day.

My notes show that, as of midnight on July 27th, Amarillo had received 10.73 inches of precipitation for the year, up to that point. That put us a little more than an inch below normal. Since then: 15.95 inches have fallen, a staggering sum for a period of less than ten weeks in the Panhandle.

Nice to have dodged a drought, but it hasn’t been all good news for farmers.  Ordinarily, folks in agriculture, rejoice with rain, and newly planted wheat looks very good, thanks to early season moisture. But the deluge we had in August is also believed to have been a large contributor to the mycotoxin problems plaguing local corn, and our rainy spell during the past two weeks is now causing concern for cotton.

Weird weather is always good for conversation. But sadly, we have experienced too many episodes this year where our weather has produced devastating results. Personally, I’d go for some normalcy right about now. If, indeed, we have ever truly have normal weather in our part of the world.



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