What a wonderful thing a weekend of rain is if you’re in the drought-parched South. After a flash drought took over large parts of the region this summer, a “Gulf Coast soaker” of a storm has brought plants back to life and helped fill reservoirs.

 

 



Drought Monitor comparison for the South before and after late October rains.

Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

 

Just last week, more than half the region that stretches from Texas to Mississippi was in drought with more than 4 percent in exceptional drought, the worst category of drought. Of course, that version was before major rains swept across the region due to a mix of a low pressure system, tropical moisture and the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.

Parts of the Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas to Jackson, Miss., received about 12 inches of rain from last Thursday through Sunday. In parts of northeast Texas, the totals were even higher with up to 20 inches falling over that period.

The latest Drought Monitor update shows what those rains can — and did — do. Less than a quarter of region is now in drought and exceptional drought has completely disappeared from the map. More rain is expected this weekend as El Niño continues to exert its influence on the region’s weather. With it, drought could continue its disappearing act in the region.