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Extreme drought expands across the Upper Valley

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HARLINGEN (KVEO) -The latest United States Drought Monitor was released on Thursday showing worsening drought conditions across the Rio Grande Valley.

Severe to extreme drought conditions now cover two-thirds of the RGV with the rest of the region seeing moderate drought.

As a state, drought conditions have increased by four percent over last week to cover 81% of the state.

Despite getting some on and off light showers over the last few weeks, it has not been nearly enough to keep up with the worsening rain deficit. Brownsville, where moderate drought exists, is closing in on an inch below normal since the start of the year.

Harlingen and McAllen, where severe drought exists, are between one and two inches below normal.

Drought conditions are expected to continue to worsen with below-normal precipitation expected through the month of March and likely not improving until June or July.

Those improving conditions will come with the increase of tropical moisture during the summer months.

In the meantime, drought conditions will continue to have negative impacts on an already struggling agricultural industry; from the recent Texas Winter Storm. An additional impact of the Winter Storm is the increase of cured, dried grass.

This means the grasslands are becoming very susceptible to wildfire. Burn bans are currently in place in Willacy, Starr, Zapata, and Jim Hogg counties.

Fire danger is expected to be above normal through the remainder of March and continue through the month of May. Fire weather conditions will be worse behind dry frontal passages when humidity is low and windy conditions exist.

Please be careful with anything that can create a spark over the next few months.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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