The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Though cloudy gray skies have prevailed much of the winter — even soaking Mardi Gras revelers this weekend and measuring above the norm — the amount of precipitation in Jefferson County is not enough to abate last year’s record-setting drought.
“We are not out of the drought at all. Obviously, the recent rain is an improvement, but we are trying to recover from essentially the most intense drought on record,” Robert Deal, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office said Monday.
Since Jan. 1, 14.15 inches of rainfall has been recorded at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport. So far this month, another 7.88 inches of precipitation has fallen locally. The combined totals put the area 6.38 inches above normal amounts of 7.77 inches.
While helpful, the excess is not enough to counteract a drought that started two years ago and ended 29.12 inches below normal rainfall amounts at the close of 2011.
“Recent rainfall is slowly trying to right the ship. We are improving, but certainly not out of the drought yet,” Deal said.
The Port Arthur area right now is still listed in severe drought, he said.
If forecasts for the next few months hold true, positive effects of any recent rainfall will be next to nil.
“Just a couple of months and we will be right back to where we were,” Deal said.
According to NWS data, the next three months are expected to be drier than normal, Deal said.
In the short-term, more rain is expected this week. Though sunny skies are expected to prevail Tuesday, clouds are forecast to return Wednesday and Thursday with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, according to the Weather Service.
Wednesday and Thursday winds are expected to gust up to 20 and 25 mph respectively, with low temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s. Highs will be in the lower 70s through Thursday.
Early weekend forecast call for sunny skies this weekend, with colder temperatures reaching the mid-60s.