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Meteorologist: Rain helps, but 2012 still in drought

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Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:00 am

Odessa-Schlemeyer Field received almost half an inch of rain Tuesday and more rain is forecast for the rest of the week, but a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said the Permian Basin still isn’t close to being out of drought conditions.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Kurt Kotenberg with the NWS in Midland said the airport in Odessa received 0.42 inches of rain, up from the 0.38 inches reported in the morning.

Odessa’s next best chances of seeing rain will happen again Thursday and Friday, but even if the storms brought half an inch, it wouldn’t be good enough to bring the area out of the drought.

“Basically, we’d need a good five inches of rain,” Kotenberg said. “That would be helpful over a long period of time.”

Rain will also help decrease the number used to rank counties on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index. As of Tuesday, Ector County was listed as having a KBDI of 632. Burn band are usually put in place when a county has a KBDI of 575. Ector County Commissioners voted to reinstitute a burn ban at their April 23 meeting.

Despite the still present drought conditions, the Odessa area has gotten more rain this year than compared to the same time in 2011. Meteorologist Alex Lyster of the NWS said as of Tuesday, total rainfall at Odessa-Schlemeyer Field totaled 1.58 inches of rain. Between Jan. 1 and May 8, 2011, the total was reported as 0.11 inches.

Lyster also said rain chances for June, July and August also have positive forecasts due to the expectations of a mild El Niño pacific weather pattern for the summer. On average, Lyster said each month brings about 1.8 inches of rain.

“That does not guarantee we’ll get more rain, but the pattern is more favorable,” Lyster said.

Temperatures are also expected to be below the 85 degree average usually recorded in May because of the rain and expected cloud coverage. Kotenberg said Ector County residents can expect temperatures to be anywhere between the mid to high 60s to the low 70s for the rest of the week.

Rain is also forecasted next week as well, Lyster said, but the chances can either increase or decrease depending on the movement of a surface ridge coming into the area.

“We don’t have much chance, but it looks like prospects are fairly decent,” Lyster said.

@OAgovernment

Weather forecast:

Wednesday: High: 73. Low: 56.

Thursday: High: 70. Low: 56.

Friday: High: 71. Low: 57.

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