Drought worsening every day

December 6th, 2012 at 2:31 pm by under Weather

Our weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor confirmed what is obvious to us–our drought is officially worse than a week ago.  Here’s the chart, indicating much of our area has returned to the severe drought category. You can read our local National Weather Service Drought Information Statement below.

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
115 PM CST THU DEC 6 2012

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO SLOWLY GROW WORSE ACROSS MOST
OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

SYNOPSIS...

AFTER A VERY DRY NOVEMBER...THE FIRST SEVERAL DAYS OF DECEMBER
HAVE BEEN DRY TOO. CHANCES FOR SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL OVER THE NEXT
SEVERAL DAYS WILL REMAIN LOW.

LONGER RANGE OUTLOOKS FOR THE NEXT 10
TO 14 DAYS ARE NOT LOOKING PROMISING FOR SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL
EITHER. ON AVERAGE WE USUALLY SEE ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF AN INCH ACROSS
THE WEST AND JUST UNDER TWO INCHES ACROSS THE EAST DURING THE
MONTH OF DECEMBER. SHORT TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS ARE ONCE AGAIN
BEING FELT ACROSS THE REGION ALONG WITH THE CONTINUED LONG TERM
IMPACTS. LAKES AND RESERVOIRS CONTINUE TO REMAIN NEARLY STEADY OR
FALLING SLOWLY WITH THE RECENT LACK OF WIDESPREAD RAINFALL. ANY
SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL EVENTS WILL HELP THE SHORT TERM IMPACTS AS
WELL AS THE LONGER TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS LIKE RESERVOIR LEVELS AND
LAKE LEVELS.

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) IS FORECASTING AN ENSO
(EL NINO SOUTHERN OSCILLATION) NEUTRAL PATTERN FOR THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE WINTER AND INTO SPRING. THIS CHANGE FROM A POSSIBLE WEAK
EL NINO IS NOT THE BEST NEWS SINCE MOST AREAS CONTINUE IN AT LEAST
ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS. ONE BRIGHT NOTE IS THAT DURING THE
2011-12 WINTER WE DID SEE AVERAGE TO ABOVE AVERAGE RAINFALL AND WE
WERE IN AN ENSO-NEUTRAL PATTERN. THIS CHANGE DOES NOT MEAN WE WILL
SEE BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL...JUST THAT THE TRENDS ARE NO LONGER
SHOWING STRONGER TRENDS TOWARDS ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL DURING THE
WINTER.

THE US DROUGHT MONITOR (USDM) VALID DECEMBER 4TH AND ISSUED ON
DECEMBER 6TH INDICATED SLIGHTLY WORSE DROUGHT CONDITIONS ACROSS
PORTIONS OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS. THE REGION IS CURRENTLY IN
ABNORMALLY DRY (D0) TO EXTREME (D3) DROUGHT STATUS. MOST LOCATIONS
ARE NOW REPORTING MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) TO SEVERE DROUGHT (D2)
STATUS. A PORTION OF THE NORTHERN RIO GRANDE PLAINS REMAINS IN
EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) STATUS. AS WE SEE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL THEN
FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS ARE LIKELY ACROSS THE REGION.

CURRENTLY 81 PERCENT OF THE STATE IS IN MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) TO
EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4). EIGHT PERCENT OF THE STATE REMAINS IN
EXCEPTIONAL (D4) DROUGHT STATUS.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS...

FIRE DANGER WAS MODERATE ACROSS THE REGION. AS OF DECEMBER
6TH...BURN BANS WERE IN EFFECT FOR 14 COUNTIES IN SOUTH CENTRAL
TEXAS. THE COUNTIES WITH ESTABLISHED OUTDOOR BURN BANS INCLUDE
BURNET...DIMMIT...EDWARDS...FRIO...GUADALUPE...KARNES...
KINNEY...LLANO...MAVERICK...MEDINA...TRAVIS...UVALDE...VAL VERDE
AND WILSON COUNTIES.

CURRENTLY ATASCOSA...BANDERA...BASTROP...BEXAR...BLANCO...
CALDWELL...COMAL...DEWITT...FAYETTE...GILLESPIE...
GONZALES...HAYS...KENDALL...KERR...LAVACA...LEE...REAL...
WILLIAMSON AND ZAVALA COUNTIES CURRENTLY HAVE NO BURN BANS IN
PLACE.

RESIDENTS IN ALL COUNTIES SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL COUNTY
WEB SITE...JUDGE`S OFFICE OR FIRE MARSHALL BEFORE DECIDING TO
CONDUCT ANY TYPE OF OUTDOOR BURNING.

THE DECEMBER 6TH KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX (KBDI) SHOWED KBDI
VALUES OF 300 TO 400 ACROSS BEXAR COUNTY. THE REMAINDER OF THE
AREA HAD KBDI VALUES OF 400 TO 700.

THE TEXAS FOREST SERVICE USES THE KBDI AS A MEANS FOR RELATING
CURRENT AND RECENT WEATHER CONDITIONS TO POTENTIAL OR EXPECTED
FIRE BEHAVIOR. THE KBDI IS A NUMERICAL INDEX CALCULATED DAILY
FOR EACH COUNTY. EACH NUMBER IS AN ESTIMATE OF THE AMOUNT OF
PRECIPITATION...IN HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH...NEEDED TO BRING THE
SOIL BACK TO SATURATION. THE INDEX RANGES FROM ZERO TO 800...WITH
ZERO REPRESENTING A SATURATED SOIL AND 800 A COMPLETELY DRY SOIL.
REMEMBER...THAT FIRE DANGER CAN CHANGE QUICKLY FROM ONE DAY TO
ANOTHER AS WINDS AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY VARY.

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS...

THE TEXAS CROP AND WEATHER REPORT ISSUED BY TEXAS A AND M
AGRICULTURAL ON NOVEMBER 27TH INDICATED...THE FIRST HARD FREEZE
WAS YET TO COME. SOILS WERE DRYING OUT WITHOUT MEASURABLE RAIN.
FALL CORN AND GRAIN SORGHUM WERE MATURING...AND THE HARVEST WAS
EXPECTED TO BEGIN SOON. SPINACH MADE GOOD PROGRESS...AND THE
PECAN HARVEST WAS IN FULL SWING. NO UPDATE SINCE THE NOVEMBER
27TH ISSUANCE.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

TEMPERATURES IN NOVEMBER WERE ABOVE NORMAL AND FOR THE FIRST
SEVERAL DAYS OF DECEMBER TEMPERATURES CONTINUE WELL ABOVE NORMAL.
A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL KNOCK THE TEMPERATURES BACK TO BELOW
NORMAL VALUES DURING THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF THE WEEK OF DECEMBER
10TH. THE REGION SAW SOME LIGHT RAINFALL DURING THE LAST
WEEK...BUT NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE ANY IMPACTS TO THE DROUGHT
CONDITIONS CURRENTLY PLAGUING THE REGION.

PRECIPITATION FROM JANUARY 1, 2012 TO MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 5, 2012
AND DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL:

                    2012      NORMAL     DEPARTURE     PERCENT
                  RAINFALL    TO DATE    FROM NORMAL   OF NORMAL

AUSTIN MABRY       32.67       32.29       +0.38         101%
AUSTIN BERGSTROM   34.31       30.32       +3.99         113%
SAN ANTONIO        39.06       30.64       +8.42         127%
DEL RIO            13.83       18.96       -5.13          73%

FOR DECEMBER TO DATE...DEL RIO HAS RECEIVED NO RAIN. THIS IS 0.09
OF AN INCH BELOW THE NORMAL OF 0.09 OF AN INCH. THE AVERAGE
TEMPERATURE TO DATE FOR DECEMBER IS 67.8 DEGREES. THIS IS
13.4 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 54.4 DEGREES.

FOR DECEMBER TO DATE...SAN ANTONIO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS RECEIVED
0.03 OF AN INCH OF RAIN. THIS IS 0.25 OF AN INCH BELOW THE NORMAL
OF 0.28 OF AN INCH. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AT THE SAN ANTONIO
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO DATE FOR DECEMBER IS 69.5 DEGREES. THIS
IS 14.3 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 55.2 DEGREES.

FOR DECEMBER TO DATE...AUSTIN MABRY HAS RECEIVED A TRACE OF RAIN.
THIS IS 0.37 OF AN INCH BELOW THE NORMAL OF 0.37 OF AN INCH. THE
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AT AUSTIN MABRY TO DATE FOR DECEMBER IS 70.3
DEGREES. THIS IS 15.5 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 54.8 DEGREES.

FOR DECEMBER TO DATE...AUSTIN BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS
RECEIVED 0.01 OF AN INCH OF RAIN. THIS IS 0.41 OF AN INCH BELOW
THE NORMAL OF 0.42 OF AN INCH. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AT THE
AUSTIN BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO DATE FOR DECEMBER IS
68.7 DEGREES. THIS IS 16.1 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 52.6 DEGREES.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

THERE DOES NOT LOOK TO BE ANY SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL DURING THE
NEXT WEEK. TEMPERATURES OVERALL WILL RANGE FROM WELL ABOVE NORMAL
TO BELOW NORMAL THEN BACK TO NEAR OR ABOVE NORMAL.

THE LATEST CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) 8 TO 14 DAY OUTLOOK
ISSUED DECEMBER 5TH AND VALID DECEMBER 13TH THROUGH DECEMBER 18TH
WAS INDICATING STRONGER TRENDS FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND
STRONGER TRENDS FOR NEAR EQUAL CHANCES FOR NORMAL...ABOVE NORMAL
OR BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

THE LONGER RANGE OUTLOOK FOR JANUARY 2012 THROUGH MARCH 2013...
CREATED ON NOVEMBER 15TH WAS INDICATING STRONGER TRENDS FOR
ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND STRONGER SIGNALS FOR NEAR EQUAL
CHANCES FOR NORMAL...ABOVE NORMAL OR BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.
THESE OUTLOOKS WILL BE UPDATED AGAIN ON DECEMBER 20TH.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

THE LACK OF SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL DURING THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS
HAS CAUSED LAKE LEVELS TO HOLD NEARLY STEADY OR FALL SLOWLY.
COOLER TEMPERATURES WILL HELP TO HOLD DOWN THE EVAPORATION RATES
DURING THE WINTER.

THE MAIN DROUGHT CONCERNS ARE CURRENTLY SHORT AND LONG TERM
HYDROLOGIC IMPACTS.

THE 7 DAY STREAM FLOW AVERAGES WERE NORMAL (25 TO 75 PERCENT)
ACROSS THE SAN ANTONIO BASIN. THE RIO GRANDE AND COLORADO RIVER
BASINS HAD BELOW NORMAL (10 TO 24 PERCENT) STREAM FLOW AVERAGES.
MUCH BELOW NORMAL (LESS THAN 10 PERCENT) FLOWS WERE OBSERVED ON
ALL OTHER BASINS ACROSS THE REGION.

RESERVOIR CONDITIONS AS OF DECEMBER 6TH...

AREA LAKES...RIVERS AND RESERVOIRS REMAIN BELOW NORMAL POOL
ELEVATIONS.

BELOW IS A LIST OF RESERVOIRS WITH THE LATEST ELEVATIONS AND
NORMAL POOLS.

                NORMAL POOL    LATEST ELEVATION    DIFFERENCE
                    (FT)             (FT)             (FT)
LAKE AMISTAD       1117             1082.9           -34.1
MEDINA LAKE        1064.2            994.6           -69.5
CANYON LAKE         909              900.6            -8.4
LAKE GEORGETOWN     791              776.1           -14.9
LAKE BUCHANAN      1020              992.6           -27.4
LAKE TRAVIS         681              631.9           -49.1

RESTRICTIONS...

THE SAN ANTONIO WATER SYSTEM (SAWS) IS CURRENTLY IN STAGE 2 WATER
RESTRICTIONS. ONCE A RESTRICTION IS IN PLACE...THAT RESTRICTION
WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR 30 DAYS NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE
AQUIFER LEVEL.

THE EDWARDS AQUIFER WAS READING 650.5 FEET AS OF DECEMBER 6TH.
THIS IS 18.4 FEET BELOW THE HISTORICAL MONTHLY AVERAGE FOR
DECEMBER WHICH IS 668.9 FEET. THE AQUIFER LEVEL IS 4.3 FEET BELOW
THE LEVEL OBSERVED ON THIS DATE IN DECEMBER 2011.

MANY COMMUNITIES ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS CONTINUE TO HAVE
WATER RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE TO DUE LACK OF CONSISTENT RAINFALL.
STRICTER RESTRICTIONS COULD BE IMPLEMENTED AT ANY TIME IF THE
DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS PERSIST.

THE BARTON SPRINGS EDWARDS AQUIFER CONSERVATION DISTRICT DECLARED
STAGE 2 ALARM DROUGHT ON NOVEMBER 15, 2012.

UVALDE IS CURRENTLY IN STAGE 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS. AUSTIN AND SAN
MARCOS ARE CURRENTLY IN STAGE 2 WATER RESTRICTIONS. KERRVILLE IS
CURRENTLY IN STAGE 1 WATER RESTRICTIONS. ALL CITIES CONTINUE TO
WARN RESIDENTS THAT STRICTER RESTRICTIONS COULD RETURN AT ANY
TIME IF DRIER CONDITIONS CONTINUE.

LOCATIONS THAT DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE MANDATORY RESTRICTIONS
CONTINUE TO STRONGLY PROMOTE YEAR ROUND WATER CONSERVATION.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...

THIS STATEMENT WILL BE UPDATED AROUND DECEMBER 20 2012 OR SOONER
IF NECESSARY.

&&

RELATED WEB SITES...

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE DROUGHT IMPACTING SOUTH CENTRAL
TEXAS...PLEASE VISIT THE FOLLOWING WEB ADDRESSES.
(ADDRESSES SHOULD BE IN ALL LOWER CASE)

AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE:

HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/AUSTIN

NOAA DROUGHT INFORMATION CENTER:

HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.NOAA.GOV

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER:

HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR:

HTTP://DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU/

OFFICE OF THE TEXAS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST:

HTTP://WWW.MET.TAMU.EDU/OSC/

UNITED STATES GEOLOGIC SURVEY (USGS):

HTTP://WATER.USGS.GOV/

UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (USACE):

HTTP://WWW.SWF.USACE.ARMY.MIL/

INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION:

HTTP://WWW.IBWC.STATE.GOV

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...

THE DROUGHT MONITOR IS A MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT INVOLVING NOAA...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA
CENTER...THE USDA...STATE AND REGIONAL CENTER CLIMATOLOGIST AND
THE NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER. INFORMATION FOR THIS
STATEMENT HAS BEEN GATHERED FROM NWS AND FAA OBSERVATION
SITES...STATE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICES...THE USACE AND
USGS.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUND THIS DROUGHT
INFORMATION STATEMENT...PLEASE CONTACT...

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
2090 AIRPORT ROAD
NEW BRAUNFELS TEXAS  78130
830-606-3617

$$

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