Amarillo, TX: 100 Days With No Rain Or Snow

/Amarillo, TX: 100 Days With No Rain Or Snow

Amarillo, TX: 100 Days With No Rain Or Snow

Good morning bloggers,

While we sit here in KC and are getting just enough winter weather to satisfy some of us weather enthusiasts, we must think about what is going on not that far away. There are parts of the plains states that are reaching historic levels of dryness for a winter season:


It has not rained or snowed measurably since October 13th, right at the beginning of this years pattern, in Amarillo, TX. 100 days without any measurable precipitation is just incredible.  This latest storm just went right by them and maybe produced a few sprinkles. By the time it got to KC we had thunderstorms and then snow showers. It certainly has been an entertaining January near KC.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 7.51.12 AM

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The NAO and AO continue to hug the neutral line this season, since this years pattern set up in October. There have been a few threats of blocking and some negative indexes, but not really in the NAO. That North Atlantic Oscillation continues to stay just north of the neutral line.  The jet stream will be reading peak strength in these next two weeks. We will discuss what this may mean in tomorrows blog.

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Go join in the conversation on the Weather2020 blog. In tomorrows blog we will look deeper into the cycling pattern and look ahead to what will happen the rest of this winter.


2018-01-24T00:22:14+00:00January 23rd, 2018|General|55 Comments


  1. numb3rsguy January 23, 2018 at 9:38 am - Reply

    That truly is some record dry weather for them down there! Amarillo’s previous longest stretch of no measurable precipitation was 75 days in 1956/57, so they really smashed their record! And not a good record to break. Drought is the worst and most boring form of severe weather.

    For comparison, KC’s longest stretch of no measurable precipitation is 41 days in 2002. Last year, we had our 20th longest stretch of 28 days with no measurable precipitation ending 12/16/2017, during this year’s LRC.

  2. Urbanity January 23, 2018 at 9:52 am - Reply

    For those thinking this year’s pattern will produce precip like last years pattern during the spring & early summer I wouldn’t be so sure. Does this year’s weather pattern not have the hallmark of some famous drought years? The drought is growing rapidly and could be epic if it continues at this rate. We will have some moisture in the spring, but if this pattern holds into the summer we will experience tremendous dryness, wind, and heat. How long will it last? How severe? Will the wind farms exacerbate the problem? Let’s hope February changes everything.

  3. Anonymous January 23, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

    While some are very positive and think this has been a better winter, St. Joseph MO has had below normal precip in 14 of the last 16 months going back to October 2016. The moisture was very welcome from this last system, but again very spotty and hit or miss. Every little bit helps, but really need a widespread soaking rain or wet snow to help out.

    • MMike January 23, 2018 at 11:54 am - Reply


      Actually, St. Joe officially has been below average 11 months out of the last 16. (Counting this month which you will finish above average for Jan.) Info from the NWS.

      Not saying that is great, just saying that the 14 out of 16 is wrong based off the official recording site.

      • Kurt January 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm - Reply

        Hi, wasn’t me. Not sure what the differences are so I looked up the monthly precip reported by University Extension vs monthly norms and St. Joseph has above normal in Jan, Mar, Apr and Oct 2017, all other months below normal and so far below normal Jan. 2018 to date at the NWS service reporting location 30.68 for the last 16 plus months vs normal of 30.68. Not too bad but once the ground thaws in the spring I hope we can get some really good rains.

        Also suspect of the official reporting station, they seem to get missed alot more than other areas around here….

        Also, have no clue what spring and summer will do. Seems like it’s just the opposite of our winters here lately except last summer we were so drastically under in rainfall compared to other areas close by.

        • MMike January 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm - Reply


          Currently, ST. JOE is at .77 for the month of JAN., I think that will be enough to finish above average for Jan. I think the average is right around .68 or so. (once again, from the NWS) That is just a pitiful average, huh?? KC is 1.07 for the month…just not much at all.

          Let’s hope the thunderstorms that missed you by 20 miles multiple times last year doesn’t play that dirty trick again on you.

          Here’s to a wet 2018!! But, be patient for awhile as we just don’t average that much moisture for the next 2 months. Let’s get a few big snows that melt slowly in the soil.

        • Kurt January 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm - Reply

          Oops, just notices normal for the same time period is 40.85.

  4. REAL HUMEDUDE January 23, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Keith, you are overdramatic lil bit. Last year you were saying KS would smash record highs and it would be a dustbowl year, you remind me of my grandpa that was always thinking a drought was coming. Central into Western KS is semi-arid at best most years, west Texas is notorious for being dry. Amarillo may be the center for drought this year, not arguing that but I am saying keep your shirt on. Wait till we have missed the rains of Spring which generally can be depended upon, then we can go overboard with epic drought talk. You’re just as likely to to get Flooded out this year in my opinion, it’s Kansas so expect the unexpected

    • Supercell January 23, 2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Right, the old eastern growth forest ends about Topeka for a reason…

      • KS Jones January 23, 2018 at 1:41 pm - Reply

        BY RUFUS B. SAGE.

        Sept. 14th (1841)
        Pursuing a westerly course, nearly parallel with the Kansas, for three successive days, we passed the 14th encamped at Big Vermilion, for the purpose of procuring a quantity of hickory for gun-sticks and bow-timber. Hickory is unknown to the Rocky Mountains, and this being the last place on the route affording it, each of our company took care to provide himself with an extra gun-stick. Small pieces, suitable for bows, find market among the mountain Indians, ranging at the price of a robe each, while gun-sticks command one dollar apiece, from the hunters and trappers.
        We were also careful to provide an extra quantity of ox-bows, axle-trees, &c., as a resource in case of accidents or breakage. These are articles with which every caravan should be furnished on a journey across the grand prairies.
        Leaving Big Vermilion, we travelled rapidly the two days subsequent, and arrived at the North Fork of Blue, —a large and deep stream, tributary to the Kansas. We were here detained till the 24th—the creek being impassable on account of high water.

    • Urbanity January 23, 2018 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Hume, you are correct that I missed badly last year, but that was how I perceived the LRC. This year I am looking at weather patterns as they existed in the drought years, they are similar to this year. We have been dry since June, record setting dryness, so I am skeptical that we will come out of this pattern at all this year. We seem to have somewhat of a monsoon season in the spring, but massive ponds out here are almost dry so the spring rains from last year didn’t prevent the drought from impacting us after May. Just think of that massive western ridge as it expands northward and eastward with the summer heat.

      I think February will hold the keys, it looks like we’ll have tremendous cold by mid February, if we go through that month without moisture then you can bank on a less than fruitful spring rainy season… least for our area out west of Salina.

      • Dan T January 23, 2018 at 12:49 pm - Reply

        That’s a really good point as we move into the Spring months to remember that some areas in the Midwest missed out on the big rain events during the summer. There appears to be 2 functional storm systems that cycle through and give us the best chance of widespread rain and snow.

  5. Stl78 January 23, 2018 at 10:38 am - Reply

    From previous blog. 8.2 earthquake in alaska. They since cancelled the tsunami warning. Some may have little intetest in this but i for one am fascinated by earthquakes!

    • Urbanity January 23, 2018 at 11:00 am - Reply

      I saw that, fortunate it was a quake that caused less vertical movement. Hard to evacuate at 1:00 am.

    • Richard January 23, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      I am interested too !
      I have a brother in law in Anchorage.
      But he and his wife are in Mayan Riviera MX on vacation ! 😊
      He says no damage at his home.
      But he was living in AK during the Good Friday quake in ’64.
      My wife recounted that it was 5 days before the family heard anything from him if he was ok. He got in touch by ham radio operator.

    • Heat Miser January 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      I thought it was a 7.9

      • Heat Miser January 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm - Reply

        and not in Alaska, but off the coast…

        • Richard January 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm - Reply

          Yes 7.9 but was first reported as 8.2
          Kodiak Island, which is AK, and Gulf of AK

  6. ksgardengal January 23, 2018 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Do the AO & NAO cycle like the LRC? If they do, do they have their own cycle length or are they following the 47ish day cycle? To my untrained eye, I cannot see from the graphs above that they are repeating in a cycle like pattern. I can see that they mirror each other pretty well when trending more positive or negative. I know they and other factors like the MJO all play into the LRC, but why is/has your focus been on AO & NAO more than other factors in the blog. Is blocking at the northern latitudes more impactful to the LRC than other things? This may be something you discuss in tomorrow’s blog or may not be relevant questions at all since I may have a flawed understanding of the AO & NAO. Appreciate the blog and the many of the bloggers that understand the weather and explain things. I’ve learned a lot.

    • NoBeachHere January 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      The AO/NAO are part of what could amplify storms, if negative, in our part of the country. This year, with that western ridge dominating early, when the AO & NAO went negative, there was not much to do. Now, with a really weakened western ridge, we’re almost or in a slight get NW or zonal pacific flow aloft. If it stays this way and those indexes do indeed go negative, then we may chances for some good storms.

      One thing I have noticed over the last 5 years, those indexes have stayed mostly neutral, with an occasional bounce into negative territory. It seems, to me anyway, the only time I see these indexes go negative is a quick drop around April, again in early August and again in September. It also seems that aside from summer of 2012, summers are not as hot, maybe a hot streak of a week to 2 weeks, precipitation chances are equal with an over performance, last summer, trending in that direction. In watching the AO & NAO for many years, it just not look to go through as much swings of high positive or low negative for any length of time, more or less, they waffle around neutral. I’m hoping that western ridge dominance was just a seasonal difference and it’s done. I just don’t see us in a drought this year. NW flow, storms moving through, constant cool air. Funny thing, watch the AO & NAO come April and summer time. I know their influence is less in summer but really, how much do we really think we know about every single teleconnector and the part they play in weather?

      • ksgardengal January 23, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the info!

      • Roger January 23, 2018 at 11:17 pm - Reply

        Good information! Thank you!

  7. f00dl3 January 23, 2018 at 11:21 am - Reply

    The drought monitor is reminiscent of major droughts that start in the south, migrate to the midwest, and expand to the northern plains through the summer.

    • MMike January 23, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply


      If you look back to 2010(2010 was actually the best winter for all as far as lack of dryness goes) at this same time and every year following that, you will find drought conditions during winter leading up to spring 90 percent of the time to our SW.(kind of normal it would appear) If you continue to look through spring and summer of each of those years, you will see that drought conditions to our SW didn’t mean drought was a given here in KS and MO for spring and summer.

      We may very well have a drought this year in the plains, however, many were certain of that last year, the year before, the year before that…etc.

      Like Hume has said, let’s see the drought starring right at us in May and June before we can call it a drought year. The last (5) years should have taught everyone to be patient and don’t make assumptions based off a dry winter.

      • ChaoticAtmosphereGuy January 23, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

        It is numbers like this that make me so skeptical of the LRC. If the pattern sets up in October and cycles through winter into the spring and summer, then the trends of winter should foretell at least something about spring/summer. I get that storms can be different — some weaker, some stronger, per his theory, but overall, over long terms of years and decades, if this theory held true, then a dry winter should portend a higher-than-average likelihood of a drought-ridden summer. But this simply isn’t borne out in the numbers.

    • Troy Newman January 23, 2018 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      The one thing this year has in common with quite a few drought years (besides starting dry) is that we are in a La Nina. Now last year proves that it doesn’t necessarily mean drought but there is a history of La Nina and Southern Plains drought. Its also a bad start to this years LRC with well below normal moisture for the Plains. Last year at this time I was running at about average for the Oct-Jan period while this year I am at 15% of normal. The bad thing is that the farm economy is struggling a great deal right now and a drought would be really bad news. My biggest fear is that this pattern will result in dry weather for the Plains and wet weather in the Midwest leaving us with a tough year and still poor prices.

      • Roger January 23, 2018 at 11:19 pm - Reply

        Exactly! Let’s pray for moisture!

  8. LYITC41 January 23, 2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Drought now does NOT guarantee drought later this year, just that simple. Someone last year predicted drought, multiple 100F days, terrible boring hot summer, it was anything but that. Having said all that there’s also no guarantee there wont be one either. You cant depend on this cycling pattern to tell you, fact is no one knows this far out.

  9. Urbanity January 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    It is possible that if the weak LaNina fades away during the summer as predicted by many, the weather pattern may change.

  10. MMike January 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    I’ll have to agree with Bill and Gary on our January weather being far from boring. We have had several winter events(albeit small events) many arctic plunges with 4-5 nights below zero, we have had thunderstorms, sleet, and warm surges up to 65 degrees, flash freezes, frozen ponds/lakes…etc. I’ll take this action every time.

    The last 7-8 days had 1-3 inches of snow around town, followed by lows well below zero, snow cover for 5 days, a warming trend that took us all the way up into the 60’s, a strong storm in the plains that laid down great moisture for parts of KS, MO, NEB, and Iowa, here locally we went from spring on Sunday to thunderstorms, cold front and sticking snow by Monday night. (my company had to treat a lot of properties last night as lots froze up even after a warm day Sunday, (we were quite surprised on how many lots froze up given the fact we only dropped to the upper 20’s, that’s (6) events we have worked this year, only had (2) all of last winter!!! TWO!!!!)

    Parts of town had some good moisture and officially KC will finish January above average on moisture at 1.13 inches. So, clearly this last storm was not a miss or a swing an a miss, or a poof, we had plenty of action around KS and MO. It was nice to see NW KS up through NEB see all that heavy snow, they needed moisture too. IOWA did great on moisture along with central to eastern MO.

    What’s next, I think we make a run at Gary’s 21 inch forecast….cold should return soon and the pattern should energize. (we need to be better at timing of storms on the cycling cold that will return) So, winter weather lovers, don’t listen to the doom and gloom talk,(they have been wrong in so many ways, right on a few things) I think we’re about to see some storms hit…direct hits or better hits if you will.

    Never give up!!

    Back loaded winter, here we come. (Winter, please do your thing up until March 20th and then please get out of here, let spring take over)

    • Roger January 23, 2018 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      True. I hope so! Need another couple.

  11. Urbanity January 23, 2018 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    If I would have told Hume in the winter if 1316-1317 that we were going to be in a drought for over 100 years he would have said I was over-reacting. Which I would have been, but my goodness, if you read below that sounds horrible. The current global warming we are experiencing (where was Al Gore in 850 AD) could do the same thing if it continues on and on. It’s obvious that the LRC, the NAO, AO, LaNina, ElNina, none of that matters when you have a megadrought. Something much bigger at work.

    “Megadroughts appear to be most prevalent in Kansas between 850 AD and 1500 AD (fig. 7). The longest one occurred in north-central Kansas from 1317 to 1427. As north-central Kansas was enduring near-continuous drought for 110 years. Many of the known megadroughts in North America occurred during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), a time of significant climatic variability that lasted from about 900 to 1300. First identified in northern Europe, the MWP was later documented in other areas of the world, including parts of the western United States (Cook et al., 2004). A shift around 1500 to droughts of shorter duration may coincide with the onset of cooler climatic conditions during a period known as the Little Ice Age. Many dune records from the central Great Plains show significant sand dune activation—a sign of increased aridity and reduced vegetation—during these periods. A variety of sand-dune mobilizations have been documented from the 9th to the early 20th century in Kansas (fig. 7).”

    • numb3rsguy January 23, 2018 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Although extended droughts are not out of the question for Kansas in the future, it is important to point out that the Medieval Warm Period was actually warmer than today (on a global average). Also, since we are entering a grand solar minimum (the Eddy minimum), it is possible that large spikes in global temperatures will hold off for a few more decades. Not to say a summer here or there won’t be hot and dry in Kansas. I’ve read about large areas of sand dunes in Kansas around the MWP too, but clearly it was different then because we don’t have that now.

      • Urbanity January 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm - Reply

        That’s a good point on the solar min, there are some forecasters that see a cool down period coming after 2020.

        • REAL HUMEDUDE January 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

          Kansas has been beneath seas, a few times. This place is far from hospitable to humans at times, also perfect at others

        • JoeK January 23, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply


          You are correct, there are a number of scientists that believe we will go into a global cooling phase and I for one, lean that direction.

  12. NoBeachHere January 23, 2018 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    We’re in the same business field.
    I got out of the commercial snow biz and just kept my residentials. Reason, snow is not consistent enough, upkeep to costly and mostly, I like sleep!, like a lot of sleep!
    I’m with you about a possible backloaded winter, depends if the players are going to play. Also, let’s bump up the spring start up to the 1st of March.
    No western ridge, plenty of chances for moisture. Last summers air mass was just about tropical conditions and I loved it.

    • MMike January 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm - Reply


      Good stuff buddy! I only wished you would have stayed in the commercial snow business. If set up properly and your contracts are right, you can make a small fortune each event. Remember, snow and ice on a property you own and run your business out of must be removed. Clients/employees slip and fall and you are liable. So, I have contracts that are must do’s every time they get slick, even if you know it is going to melt in 4 hours. If it is slick in the morning when everyone shows up, you have to treat.

      You are right, snow is not consistent. However, you should not depend on that to pay the bills…that’s silly. But, when it does snow, it’s all unexpected money. I have built a rather large snow operation over the years, so, we turn a pretty penny every time ice or snow shows up. obviously, Landscape, irrigation and property management is my guaranteed money…if we were guaranteed 40 inches of snow every year, I would get out of the Landscape Field. Snow removal in my opinion is the fastest and most profitable direct service in all of the services my company provides. In other words, I can run a 3-mow crew from from Monday to Friday 40 hours and turn maybe $5500.00 gross. That’s 120 man hours…I can run (5) trucks(JUST DRIVER ONLY) in a 1-3 inch snow event, take 8 hours and turn $14K in gross sales. It’s not even comparable in the profit % and the amount of time spent to complete.

      If set up right…snow removal hands down is the fastest money turn in our industry.

      GO SNOW!!!

  13. Roger January 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    When arid and semi-arid places are experiencing a worsening drought, how can that be overlooked? I understand it won’t improve much in the winter months. But deteoriation is accelerating in the late fall and winter at an exceptional clip. Seasonal variations matter. I won’t argue that. But we have had several years lately where Spring just skipped over us. Just a couple of years ago I remember Dodge City hit 90 degrees in February and 100 in early May! Granted this year we have had extreme cold, but also several days in the 75-80 degree range out west. There is no way to write off Winter yet. But prospects are very discouraging for me at this point.

    • KS Jones January 23, 2018 at 3:34 pm - Reply

      I’m not suggesting it will happen again, but the severe drought that hit west Texas in October 2010 lasted 4+ years.

      May 16, 2014

      The drought that began in October 2010 has been the driest such period in over a century for much of West Texas, putting it on par with the drought of record in the 1950s.

  14. rred95 January 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    mmike, bill etc… our winter may not be as boring as Amarillo TX, and I like to stay positive and believe we will get one still …. but you have to admit its frustrating after 4 underwhelming winters to see substantial snows to our SOUTH! and to our north. Are our expectations for winter now a few flurry storms and cold blasts? maybe so… I have to admit it was damn exciting a week and a half ago when we got a couple inches..

    • MMike January 23, 2018 at 2:50 pm - Reply


      Like you said, it could be worse. (Amarillo) I base it off events worked…we worked two last year and we’re at Six this year. We’re winning this year…

      Patience, plenty of cold in this pattern, last year’s pattern did not have plenty of cold in it. We will finish strong. First storm looks to visit right around the first of the month…cold air returns at that time also.

      In the meantime, I’m not so sure I won’t play gold later this week. Enjoy the nice weather, I promise, changes are coming.

    • Heat Miser January 23, 2018 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      I’ve been quite happy with our winter in Lawrence so far…lots of cold blasts, and 4 snow events that covered everything in white, including one of 3 inches. If we could just get one moderate one before the end of March, i.e. 4-6 incher, I’d be really happy.

  15. Brian watson January 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Gary is amazing with his cycle based forecasts. He’s called the last couple storms to be somewhere in the country within a week or two for each. Not only that but he has been within 20 inches of his snowfall total predictions 6 years straight. Sure he missed the 2 before that by more than 20, but it’s really hard to be within 20 inches of snow in a town that averages 20 inches of snow so we must cut him some slack. Thank you for bringing us this cycle inspired technology and keep watching dodgeball the movie for inspiration.

    • Anonymous January 23, 2018 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      Idiot, come up with your own theory and start your own blog.

      • Gary January 23, 2018 at 6:33 pm - Reply

        The naysayers just don’t like it when we are accurate. There have been very few misses on our forecasts, in fact I can’t think of one. The storm systems that have been predicted have hit, and in KC. We are just in an historic 4 year snow drought with a lack of anything coming together. So, just ignore the comments that have no facts behind them at all. Here are the facts: We have predicted these storm systems to hit, and with only small amounts of snow, and they have hit with almost exactly what we predict. The same pattern continues to produce the same results. In the blog, either tomorrow or more likely on Thursday morning we will once again show the cycling pattern that is right on schedule, this 44 to 51 day cycling pattern that has been most often, 46, 47, or 48 days. It is just incredible.


        • Anonymous January 23, 2018 at 7:02 pm - Reply

          Best advice, ignore is probably best!

        • f00dl3 January 24, 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply


          I think the problem is you predicted above average snowfall this winter with 21″ and now you are trying to say your LRC predicted year 4 of the snowfall drought.

          I believe the LRC does exist, but the upper level patterns don’t really translate to the surface that well to make it that useful.

    • JoeK January 23, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply


      With respect, your post is so full of misunderstandings and surface analytics that it is largely without substance. If you believe that predicting a total snow accumulation represents a meteorologists value, you really have zero understanding of weather. Meteorologists really just predict snow totals for fun or out of expectation of the masses. It is very difficult if not nearly impossible to predict snowfall amounts for an entire season. What is important and is obviously missed on you, the ability to recognize and predict storm systems with reasonable accuracy months ahead. The LRC has done just that and with great accuracy! Just a respectful reminder, Gary did predict a “dry” winter and if you look at the systems, they have been 45-48 days apart with considerable consistency. This is called science my friend

  16. Brian watson January 23, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    I know it’s very hard to predict an exact amount of snowfall way in advance. I know they do fine when making predictions a couple days in advance. That’s not at all what I was getting at. The “Facts” as you put it and the science has shown that almost every season he blows the forecast. Nobody is saying he can’t make predictions within a few days, but this site as well as this whole lrc is built on the premise that he can make long range forecasts and it just doesn’t happen. Used to watch the 10 week forecast and it would be off 10 degrees plus with the storm systems not happening time after time. Throw me 100 balls and if I swing and miss 99 times, but hit one out of the park, it doesn’t make me a professional hitter. It makes me just dumb lucky that one time. Follow blindly if you want.

  17. Brian watson January 23, 2018 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Just curious anonymous do you also buy the miracle water that is sold on tv.

  18. Rod January 23, 2018 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Maybe early February will start off with a nice snowfall we can dream. Like this run showing 6”+ across central MO as we close out the work week going into Super Bowl weekend.

  19. Urbanity January 24, 2018 at 8:08 am - Reply

    “It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be dry, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your winter”

    -That’s all you need to know.

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