Returning to drought

All of Rockwall County and portions of Hunt and Kaufman counties, have been placed under moderate drought conditions due to the lack of recent rainfall.

Rain has been in short supply in North Texas during the past few weeks, with at least one measurement indicating the region is already back under drought conditions.

There is at least a chance for additional precipitation this weekend.

After the Hunt-Rockwall county area reportedly received a little more than 10 inches of total rainfall across September and October, virtually no significant precipitation has been recorded since the start of November.

The United States Drought Monitor, in its report issued Thursday, Nov. 12, listed all of Rockwall County and the adjoining region of southwest Hunt County under a “moderate drought.” The readings under the report were obtained on Nov. 10.

A second drought indicator, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, or KBDI, which monitors soil moisture levels and is an indicator used to determine the threat of fire danger, is not quite as pessimistic.

A reading of “zero” under the index means the soil is saturated, while 800 is the highest reading on the index, indicating it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation.

As of Monday morning, Rockwall County recorded readings of 418 to 564, with a countywide average of 488.

Hunt County’s readings under the KBDI as of Monday ranged from 270 to 468, with an average of 401.

Neither Hunt nor Rockwall counties are currently under a ban on outdoor burning, but fire officials are urging anyone intending to conduct a controlled burn to use extreme caution.

Area fire departments have been dispatched this week to multiple fires that have spread rapidly because of the dry vegetation and, low humidity and occasional gusty winds.

The National Weather Service forecast was calling for continued dry conditions during the remainder of the week, with slowly warming temperatures. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the region Saturday night into Sunday.

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