Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Las Vegas, NV

Current Version | Previous Version | Text Only | Print | Product List | Glossary On
Versions: 1 2 3 4
000
AXUS75 KVEF 172034
DGTVEF
AZZ001>003-036-CAZ519>527-NVZ014-022-300700-

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAS VEGAS NV
133 PM PDT THU MAR 17 2016

...EXTREME TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE ACROSS PARTS
OF SOUTHEAST CALIFORNIA AND WEST-CENTRAL NEVADA...

...MODERATE DROUGHT EXPANDED NORTHWARD UP THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER
VALLEY INTO FAR SOUTHERN NEVADA...

SYNOPSIS...PRECIPITATION HAS BEEN HARD TO COME BY FOR MUCH OF THE
REGION SINCE FEBRUARY 1. THE ONLY EXCEPTION MAY BE MADE FOR THE EAST
SLOPES OF THE SOUTHERN SIERRA ON INYO COUNTY AND THE SPRING
MOUNTAINS OF CLARK COUNTY WHERE A FAIR AMOUNT OF SNOW/RAIN OCCURRED
BETWEEN MARCH 5-6. IT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY DRY IN THE LOWER COLORADO
RIVER VALLEY THE PAST TWO MONTHS WITH NEEDLES WATER YEAR
PRECIPITATION FALLING TO 44 PERCENT. SINCE OUR LAST STATEMENT,
MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) WAS EXPANDED NORTHWARD UP THE COLORADO RIVER
VALLEY INTO FAR SOUTHERN NEVADA.

THE DRY FEBRUARY AND FIRST HALF OF MARCH HAS BEEN DETRIMENTAL TO THE
COLORADO BASIN VOLUME RUNOFF FORECASTS FOR LAKE POWELL. THE MID
MARCH FORECAST UPDATE HAS FALLEN TO 73 PERCENT OF AVERAGE OR 5.2
MAF. THAT IS DOWN FROM FEBRUARY 1 WHEN THE FORECAST WAS FOR 6.5 MAF
OR 91 PERCENT OF THE 1981-2010 AVERAGE.

THE LATEST U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR DEPICTS THAT THE EASTERN SLOPES OF
THE SOUTHERN SIERRA NEVADA, THE WHITE MOUNTAINS OF INYO COUNTY, THE
NORTHERN PORTION OF THE OWENS VALLEY OF CALIFORNIA AND FAR WESTERN
ESMERALDA COUNTY, NEVADA REMAIN IN D4, OR EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT.
EXTREME DROUGHT, OR D3 CONDITIONS, EXISTS ACROSS CENTRAL ESMERALDA
COUNTY, NEVADA AS WELL AS CENTRAL INYO AND WESTERN SAN BERNARDINO
COUNTY. SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS, OR D2, EXISTS ACROSS SOUTHWEST
NYE COUNTY, EASTERN INYO AND CENTRAL SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY. WESTERN
PARTS OF LINCOLN, WESTER PARTS OF CLARK, WESTERN PARTS OF MOHAVE AND
EASTERN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTIES ARE IN D1 OR MODERATE DROUGHT
CONDITIONS. ACROSS FAR EASTERN MOHAVE COUNTY, NORTHEAST CLARK AND
EASTERN LINCOLN COUNTIES IN NEVADA CONDITIONS ARE IN D0, OR
ABNORMALLY DRY.

DUE TO THE SEVERITY OF THE ONGOING DROUGHT, DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED TO PERSIST ACROSS WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE AREA THERE IS THE
POTENTIAL OF ADDITIONAL DOWNGRADES IN EASTERN PORTIONS DUE TO THE
LACK OF PRECIPITATION THE PAST TWO MONTHS.

THE LATEST SEASONAL FORECAST (APRIL THROUGH JUNE 2016) ISSUED BY THE
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER SHOWS THERE IS AVERAGE CONFIDENCE FOR
NORMAL PRECIPITATION ACROSS INYO COUNTY, SOUTHERN NEVADA AND MOHAVE
COUNTY. EQUAL CHANCES OF BELOW, NEAR, OR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION
IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY. ABOVE NORMAL CONFIDENCE DURING THIS THREE
MONTH PERIOD FOR FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE ENTIRE
REGION.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

AGRICULTURAL

FEBRUARY 25, 2016 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SECRETARIAL DROUGHT
DESIGNATIONS WERE ANNOUNCED. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DESIGNATED CLARK, NYE, LINCOLN AND ESMERALDA COUNTIES IN NEVADA.

DECEMBER 23, 2015 INYO AND SAN BERNARDINO COUNTIES IN CALIFORNIA AS
PRIMARY NATURAL DISASTER AREAS DUE TO THE ONGOING DROUGHT. ALL FARM
AND RANCH OPERATORS IN THOSE COUNTIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR LOW INTEREST
EMERGENCY LOANS FROM THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY, PROVIDED
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS ARE MET. FARMERS IN ELIGIBLE COUNTIES HAVE
EIGHT MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF THE DECLARATION TO APPLY FOR LOANS
TO HELP COVER PART OF THEIR ACTUAL LOSSES.

IN LATE OCTOBER 2015, WATER FLOWED IN THE LOS ANGELES AQUEDUCT FOR
THE FIRST TIME IN SIX MONTHS AFTER WORKERS REMOVED AN EARTHEN AND
CONCRETE DAM THAT DIVERTED WATER. A DEAL WAS REACHED TO KEEP FLOWS
IN THE OWENS RIVER. THE LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF POWER AND WATER
MOSTLY FULFILLED IRRIGATION CONTRACTS LAST SUMMER IN THE SOUTHERN
END OF THE OWENS VALLEY. DUE TO THE ONGOING DROUGHT, LIVESTOCK HAS
BEEN ESTIMATED TO BE REDUCED BY 40 TO 50 PERCENT IN THE OWENS VALLEY
IN RECENT YEARS.

WATER SUPPLY

THE LATEST U.S. BUREAU OF RECLAMATION GIVES LAKE MEAD ONLY A 37
PERCENT CHANCE OF FALLING INTO SHORTAGE CONDITIONS NEXT YEAR. BUT
THAT CHANCE RISES TO 59 PERCENT IN 2018. THE U.S. BUREAU OF
RECLAMATION DECLARES A SHORTAGE WHENEVER AN ANNUAL STUDY PROJECTS
THE RESERVOIR LEVEL WILL BE LESS THAN 1075 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL ON
JANUARY 1. A SHORTAGE COULD FORCE ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA TO
IMPLEMENT WATER RESTRICTIONS, AND SOME ARIZONA FARMERS WOULD LOSE
THE WATER THAT FLOWS TO THEM THROUGH THE CENTRAL ARIZONA PROJECT
CANAL.

THE NEVADA DROUGHT FORUM, A STATEWIDE PANEL, HAS RECOMMENDED
STATEWIDE WATER METERING, WATER EFFICIENCY STANDARDS FOR NEW
DEVELOPMENT AND ADOPTING TIER RATE STRUCTURES TO PROMOTE
CONSERVATION. THE STATE`S BIGGEST WATER USER, AGRICULTURE, WOULD BE
ENCOURAGED TO USE DRIP IRRIGATION, CROP COVERING AND CONVERT
PLANTINGS TO LESS THIRSTY VARIETIES. THE REPORT ALSO ASKS LOCAL
GOVERNMENTS TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF THIRSTY LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS
SET BY MANY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS. THE SOUTHERN NEVADA WATER
AUTHORITY`S CASH FOR GRASS PROGRAM HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL AND HAS
REPLACED MORE THAN 173 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF TURF GRASS (MORE THAN
3,000 FOOTBALL FIELDS) WITH LANDSCAPING THAT`S A BETTER FIT FOR
NEVADA`S CLIMATE.

THE VICE PRESIDENT OF SUSTAINABILITY FOR MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL
TOLD A PANEL OF THE NEVADA DROUGHT FORUM THAT CONSERVATION EFFORTS
BY THE COMPANY HAVE SAVED ABOUT 2 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER SINCE
2008. THE COMPANY HAS INSTALLED LOW-FLOW FIXTURES AND CHANGED
METHODS FOR DOING LAUNDRY AS PART OF THEIR WATER CONSERVATION
EFFORTS.

GROUND WATER

NEVADA GOVERNOR SANDOVAL ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING A
NEVADA DROUGHT FORUM TO BRING TOGETHER THE BEST MINDS, MANAGERS AND
ALL INTERESTED STAKEHOLDERS TO ACCESS THE DROUGHT IN NEVADA. THE
FORUM WILL IDENTIFY BEST CONSERVATION PRACTICES AND POLICY NEEDS,
AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNOR REGARDING A PLAN.

THE LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER IS PLANNING FOUR NEW
PRODUCTION WELLS IN INYO COUNTY. ONE WILL REPLACE A WELL IN LAWS,
TWO IN BISHOP AND ONE IN BELL CANYON WEST OF BIG PINE.

THE NEVADA 78TH LEGISLATURE IS DISCUSSING TWO BILLS RELATED TO
GROUND WATER. SENATE BILL 65 WOULD UPDATE LANGUAGE AFFECTING WATER
RIGHTS AND GROUNDWATER AS WELL AS IMPLEMENT SEVERAL CHANGES TO LAWS
AFFECTING DOMESTIC WELLS. SENATE BILL 81 EXPANDS THE POWER OF THE
STATE`S WATER AUTHORITY TO GOVERN AND MANAGE GROUNDWATER SHORTAGES
IN AREAS SUFFERING FROM SEVERE DROUGHT. BOTH BILLS FAILED TO GET OUT
OF COMMITTEE DURING THE NEVADA 78TH LEGISLATURE.

INYO COUNTY SUPERVISORS PASSED A THREE-PAGE DROUGHT PROCLAMATION FOR
INYO COUNTY. THEY NOTED THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION BY
POINTING OUT THE VERY LOW SNOWPACK IN THE SOUTHERN SIERRA, DRY WELLS
AROUND BISHOP AND CONCERNS ABOUT USE OF WATER ON THE DRY LAKE AND
THE NEED FOR LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER AND INYO
COUNTY TO PLAN FOR DRY TIMES.

RECREATION/TOURISM

THE LOW LAKE LEVELS IN LAKE MEAD CONTINUE TO IMPACT RECREATIONAL
BOATING CHANNELS BY REDUCING AREAS THAT BOATS CAN PASS THROUGH. THE
FALLING LAKE LEVEL HAS RESULTED IN THE CONTINUED CLOSURE OF THE ECHO
BAY MARINA AND BOAT LAUNCH RAMP AT ECHO BAY.

NATURAL SPRINGS IN THE SHEEP MOUNTAIN RANGE IN SOUTHERN NEVADA HAVE
RUN DRY IN SOME INSTANCES FORCING HIKERS TO HAVE TO BRING WATER WITH
THEM.

FIRE WEATHER

THE LATEST SIGNIFICANT WILDLAND FIRE POTENTIAL OUTLOOK FOR THE REST
OF MARCH AND APRIL CALLS FOR NORMAL ACTIVITY ACROSS THE ENTIRE AREA.

FOR MAY AND JUNE ABOVE NORMAL SIGNIFICANT FIRE POTENTIAL WILL
DEVELOP IN THE SOUTHWEST.

AN AERIAL SURVEY WAS DONE BETWEEN AUGUST 10TH AND 14TH ACROSS THE
SOUTHERN SIERRA NEVADA IN SOUTHWEST INYO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA AND
SHOWED SOME POCKETS IN WHICH GREATER THAN 15 TREES PER ACRE WERE
DYING DUE TO STRESS FROM THE DROUGHT AND OTHER SOURCES SUCH AS BUGS.

WILDLIFE

THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT CONDUCTED AN EMERGENCY ROUNDUP OF WILD
HORSES IN THE SPRING MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHERN NEVADA FROM AUGUST 29TH
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2ND IN THE COLD CREEK AREA. A TOTAL OF 201 HORSES
WERE ROUNDED UP. THE HORSES WERE SUFFERING WEIGHT LOSS DUE TO
STARVING FROM THE DROUGHT, WHICH HAS SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED THE
AMOUNT OF VEGETATION THAT CAN GROW FOR THE HORSES TO EAT. SOME
HORSES WERE EATING THE BARK OF JOSHUA TREES BECAUSE THEY HAD NOTHING
ELSE TO EAT. A TOTAL OF 28 HORSES FROM THE 201 ROUNDED UP HAD TO BE
EUTHANIZED BECAUSE THEY WERE SO BADLY EMACIATED. THE REMAINING
HORSES WERE TAKEN TO A FACILITY TO BE FED AND NURTURED BACK TO
HEALTH.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

DATA BELOW IS OCTOBER 1ST THROUGH MARCH 16TH

 ARIZONA            PCPN     NORMAL     PER

BEAVER DAM          3.77     4.82       78%
PIPE SPRING NM      5.12     4.68      109%
KINGMAN             3.44     6.04       57%
WIKIEUP             4.17     6.44       65%


 CALIFORNIA

BISHOP              1.99     4.05       49%
DEATH VALLEY NP     2.10     1.75      120%
BARSTOW-DAGGETT     1.43     2.85       50%
NEEDLES             1.40     3.21       44%
JOSHUA TREE         2.49     3.51       71%

 NEVADA

LAS VEGAS           1.96     2.87       68%
MT CHARLESTON      14.09    16.94       83%
PAHRUMP             4.52     3.40      133%
MESQUITE            3.02     5.26       57%
CALIENTE            7.44     5.47      136%
DYER                2.59     2.70       96%

 PCPN   - 2016 WATER YEAR PRECIPITATION
 NORMAL - WATER YEAR NORMAL (STARTS OCT 1)
 PER    - PERCENT OF NORMAL

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

THE LATEST SEASONAL FORECAST (APRIL THROUGH JUNE 2016) ISSUED BY THE
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER SHOWS THERE IS AVERAGE CONFIDENCE FOR
NORMAL PRECIPITATION ACROSS INYO COUNTY, SOUTHERN NEVADA AND MOHAVE
COUNTY. EQUAL CHANCES OF BELOW, NEAR, OR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION
IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY. ABOVE NORMAL CONFIDENCE DURING THIS THREE
MONTH PERIOD FOR FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE
ENTIRE REGION.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

THE MID MARCH COLORADO BASIN WATER SUPPLY FORECAST FOR APRIL-JULY
RUNOFF VOLUMES FOR THE MAINSTEM OF THE COLORADO RIVER ARE EXPECTED
TO BE BELOW AVERAGE. WHILE FOR THE VIRGIN RIVER BASIN RUNOFF VOLUMES
ARE EXPECTED TO BE NEAR AVERAGE. FOR LAKE POWELL THE APRIL-JULY
INFLOW FORECAST IS 5.2 MAF OR 73% OF AVERAGE. THIS IS DOWN FROM THE
FEBRUARY OUTLOOK OF 6.5 MAF OR 91% OF AVERAGE. FOR THE VIRGIN RIVER
NEAR LITTLEFIELD APRIL-JULY RUNOFF VOLUMES ARE FORECAST AT 102%, OR
66000 ACRE-FEET.

AS OF MARCH 16, 2016, LAKE MEAD`S ELEVATION WAS 1082.42 FEET OR 39
PERCENT CAPACITY. THE MOST PROBABLE OUTLOOK HAS LAKE MEAD ELEVATION
DROPPING TO AROUND 1070 FEET AT THE END OF JUNE, THEN HOVERING
BETWEEN 1070 AND 1075 FEET THROUGH THE END OF SEPTEMBER. THE
RESERVOIR ELEVATION IS FORECAST TO RISE ONLY BACK TO AROUND 1078
FEET IN EARLY 2017. LAKE MEAD HAS NOT RECORDED LAKE LEVELS BELOW
1075 FEET SINCE THE RESERVOIR WAS BEING FILLED IN MAY 1937.

LAKE POWELL`S CURRENT ELEVATION IS 3593.46 OR 46 PERCENT CAPACITY.

DATA FOR RESERVOIRS ACROSS THE REGION (AS OF 3/16/2016)

RESERVOIR                      PERCENT FULL

LAKE MEAD                           39
LAKE MOHAVE                         93
LAKE HAVASU                         93

THE EASTERN SIERRA SNOW SURVEY RESULTS FOR MARCH 1 WERE:

                       AVG SWE             PCT OF NORM
                                              TO DATE

ROCK CREEK AREA         7.5 IN                 70
BISHOP AREA            13.0 IN                 76
COTTONWOOD AREA         7.1 IN                 61

SWE: SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENTS ARE NORMALLY ISSUED ON THE THIRD
THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH IN WHICH EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS EXIST IN
ANY PORTION OF THE SOUTHERN GREAT BASIN AND MOJAVE DESERT. THE NEXT
SCHEDULED ISSUANCE IS THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2016. IF A SIGNIFICANT
CHANGE IN THE DROUGHT CONDITION IS ANTICIPATED...OR OCCURS PRIOR TO
THIS DATE...AN UPDATED STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED.
&&

RELATED WEBSITES...

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING WEB SITES:

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR
DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU

NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM
WWW.DROUGHT.GOV

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER
WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV

ADDITIONAL RIVER INFORMATION...

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE     WATER.WEATHER.GOV/AHPS
USGS                         WATER.USGS.GOV/
COLORADO BASIN RFC           WWW.CBRFC.NOAA.GOV
CALIFORNIA-NEVADA RFC        WWW.CNRFC.NOAA.GOV

ADDITIONAL SITES:

NEVADA DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES   WATER.NV.GOV
CALIFORNIA DEPT OF WATER RESOURCES   WWW.WATER.CA.GOV
ARIZONA DEPT OF WATER RESOURCES      WWW.AZWATER.GOV

NEVADA STATE CLIMATE OFFICE          WWW.CLIMATE.UNR.EDU
CALIFORNIA STATE CLIMATE OFFICE      WWW.CLIMATE.WATER.CA.GOV
ARIZONA STATE CLIMATE OFFICE         AZCLIMATE.ASU.EDU
WESTERN REGION CLIMATE CENTER        WWW.WRCC.DRI.EDU

NWS FORECAST OFFICE LAS VEGAS        WEATHER.GOV/LASVEGAS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
THE DROUGHT MONITOR IS A MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT INVOLVING THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND NATIONAL AND WESTERN REGIONAL CLIMATIC
DATA CENTERS...THE USDA...STATE AND REGIONAL CENTER CLIMATOLOGISTS
AND THE NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...PLEASE CONTACT:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE - LAS VEGAS
PHONE...702-263-9744
W-VEF.WEBMASTER@NOAA.GOV

$$

WFO LAS VEGAS


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.