The latest U.S. Drought Monitor has been released, and it shows some troubling information for portions of Louisiana. The NOAA has upgraded over 20 percent of the state to a "moderate" level on the drought intensity scale. This includes a large chunk of Southwest Louisiana.
Here are some of the latest rainfall stats from the Lake Charles Regional Airport: Since Jan. 1, we have recorded over 35.34 inches of rain. The normal value is around 34.54 inches. This would indicate that for the year, we are about 0.80 of an inch above normal. This is a big difference from last year, when during the same period, we had a 49.78 inches of rain, indicating a surplus of 15 inches.
Since June 1, however, Lake Charles has officially recorded 5.82 inches of rainfall for the summer period. The normal value would fall around 13.66 inches. This puts Calcasieu Parish around 7.84 inches below normal for the summer period of rainfall. This is in stark contrast to last year's measurements, when the area was enjoying a 17.91 inch surplus.
The D1 moderate drought level is the least intense rating on the scale, with D4 being the most intense. NOAA uses five key factors to indicate drought conditions. Moderate drought means water shortages and some damage to crops, pastures, streams and reservoirs is possible. Voluntary water-use restrictions are usually recommended with this level.
The next level for portions of Southwest Louisiana on the drought monitor would be the Severe Drought category. A severe level drought would likely bring crop and pasture losses, water shortages and water restrictions. The good news is that computer models are indicating a better chance of rainfall across the area as we move toward this weekend and beyond. Hopefully, we can get some good rainfall across the area.