Observation + Monitoring
The Southern Plains DEWS contains diverse climates such as the semi-arid region of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and western Kansas, the desert in eastern New Mexico and Big Bend Country of western Texas, and the hot, humid subtropical Gulf Coast. Weather across the region can change quickly; the region is prone to severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes in the summer and snow and occasional blizzards in the winter. The region is also prone to regular drought. When monitoring drought in the Southern Plains, it is important to consider precipitation, temperature, and evaporation together as water can quickly leave the landscape during times of high evaporative demand. Other indicators include streamflow, soil moisture, groundwater, and various derived indices for monitoring drought in the region.
Planning + Preparedness
The states of the Southern Plains region all have plans for responding to drought. These have been produced by the state agencies responsible for the states' drought response and are linked on this page. For other groups within the region (counties, cities, or industry groups) that would like to create their own drought plan, we have included links to resources on this page. Or, contact the Regional DEWS Coordinator, Joel Lisonbee, for some ideas on how to get started.
Prediction + Forecasting
While droughts can occur during any time of the year, those that coincide with crop cycles can be especially costly for the Southern Plains region. The resources provided here, while not specific to the region, can provide some indication of when a drought may start and when it may end.
Communication + Outreach
NIDIS’s mission for the Southern Plains includes providing those affected by drought with the best available information and resources to better prepare for, mitigate, and respond to the effects of drought. This includes communication and outreach by NIDIS and our partners within the Drought Early Warning network.
For example, regional drought status updates communicate a potential area of concern for drought expansion and/or development in the Southern Plains, based on recent conditions and the upcoming forecast.
The resources below highlight upcoming events or communications tools (podcasts, videos, social media) that are relevant to the Southern Plains. Did we miss something? Let us know by contacting the Regional DEWS Coordinator.
Research + Applications
The Southern Plains DEWS region has a strong research presence, which includes seven land grant universities within the region and several more in surrounding states, as well as the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP, a NOAA RISA team).