Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Corpus Christi, TX

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000
AXUS74 KCRP 030122
DGTCRP
TXZ229>234-239>247-050130-

Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Corpus Christi TX
722 PM CST Thu Mar 2 2017

...Drought Conditions Remain Over Eastern Portions of Kleberg and
Nueces Counties...

...Abnormally Dry Conditions Spreading Into Inland Portions of The
Southern Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Plains But Diminished in the
Northern Coastal Areas...

...Beneficial Rainfall Over the Next Several Days May Help
Alleviate If Not Eliminate Drought...

...Monthly and Seasonal Drought Outlooks Call For An Improvement
or Removal of Drought Conditions...


.SYNOPSIS...
Precipitation was quite variable over Hydrologic Service Areas (HSA)
during February. While most of the Northeastern Coastal Bend and Victoria
Crossroads Region saw above normal rainfall during the month, the Southern
Coastal Bend, Southern Brush Country, and Northern Rio Grande
Plains saw below normal rainfall. Much of the northern portions of
the Brush Country also saw near to slightly above normal rainfall
during the month.

Because of the above normal rainfall over the Northeastern Coastal
Bend, drought and abnormally dry conditions were eliminated.
Also, rainfall was sufficient in some portions of Nueces and
Kleberg Counties to alleviate drought or abnormally dry
conditions. However, continued below normal rainfall observed
during the past couple of months over portions of the Southern
Coastal Bend and Southern Brush Country, along with the Northern
Rio Grande Plains, resulted in abnormally dry conditions spreading
farther inland into other portions of South Texas.

According to the Drought Monitor Product, valid on February 28 2017:

Severe Drought (D2) conditions exist over eastern (rural) portions
of Kleberg County, generally between Riviera Beach and South Bird
Island. King Ranch is within this D2 area.

Outside the D2 area, Moderate Drought (D1) conditions exist over
the eastern half of Kleberg County, and the southeastern third of
Nueces County. This area includes the city of Corpus Christi and
Riviera Beach, as well as Chapman Ranch and the Padre Island
Ranger Station.

Outside of the D2 and D1 areas, Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions
exist over much of Southern San Patricio County (including Edroy and
Ingleside), the remainder of Nueces County (including Robstown and
Bishop), the remainder of Kleberg County (including Kingsville and
Loyola Beach), all but extreme northern portions of Jim Wells County
(including Alice and Premont), and portions of Southeast Duval County
(including Realitos and Benavides but not Rosita). Finally an
area of D0 conditions exist over Northwestern Webb County,
essentially over areas north and west of Interstate 35.

For the current drought monitor product showing drought
conditions over Texas, go to the Corpus Christi Drought Page on
the web:

http://www.weather.gov/crp/drought


SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

STATE AND LOCAL ACTIONS.
According to the Texas Forest Service Burn Ban Map of March 2,
Duval County has instituted a burn ban, while Kleberg County has
kept its burn ban. Nueces Country removed their burn ban in late
February. No other burn bans are in effect.

Residents planning on burning should still contact county
officials to ensure that burning is allowed, and also to see if
any restrictions on how and when to burn are in effect. If burning
is allowed, be sure it is not done during windy days with low
humidity, as this could result in a fire which could easily get
out of control.

Concerning water restrictions for Corpus Christi, Victoria, and
Laredo: there have been no changes. The city of Corpus Christi
continues with city-wide voluntary water conservation efforts.
Residents are asked to water only once a week on any day they
prefer, as long as it is between the hours of 6 PM and 10 AM.

More information concerning all stages of water restrictions (and
requests for exemptions and variances) can be found at:
www.cctexas.com/government/water.

For information on any restrictions at Portland and Ingleside,
please visit:

http://portlandtx.com
http://inglesidetx.gov

Amistad lake is over 80 percent capacity, and thus no mandatory
water restrictions are in effect for the city of Laredo. Also, no
restrictions are in effect for the city of Victoria, as levels on
Canyon Dam are near capacity and flows on the Guadalupe River are
adequate.

Although grasses are starting to green up, only water your
landscapes to maintain adequate soil moisture. Also, only water
if rainfall has not been received for a week or two. Use a
sprinkler which makes larger water droplets, and avoid watering
on windy days. Finally, turn soaker hoses so that the holes are
on the bottom, facing the grass.

For residents with sprinklers, turn off your sprinkler system
when rainfall has been sufficient to avoid watering when it is not
needed. Residents with sprinkler systems should also monitor
their watering to ensure their system is watering the lawn and not
the sidewalk or street.

Residents should remain informed on any water restrictions which
may be imposed for their location, as any violations can result
in significant fines. More information on how to conserve water
(and drought contingency plans) is found on the city websites at
the end of this statement.

Additional locations within the Hydrologic Service Area (HSA) with
mandatory or voluntary restrictions on their public water systems
can be found at:

http://www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/trot/location.html

Residents can also check with their local officials or media
outlets whether water restrictions for their locale have been
added, removed, or amended.


AGRICULTURAL AND SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS...
The soil moisture anomaly map for the end of February shows near
normal soil conditions (+20 mm to -20 mm) over the
northwestern two-thirds of the HSA, with slightly dry anomalies
farther southeast (-20 mm to -40 mm) over extreme Southeastern
Kleberg County.

Soil moisture percentiles were near normal (30 to 70 percent)
over all of the HSA, except for percentiles of 20 to 30 percent
over extreme Southeastern portions of Kleberg County.

Crop moisture indices for the week ending February 25 indicate near
normal (slightly dry/favorably moist) conditions over nearly all of
the HSA, except for Victoria County where abnormally moist
conditions (1.0 to 1.9) exist.

According to a recent article in AgriLife Today (http://today.agrilife.org),
cotton acres in Texas will likely increase in 2017 as producers seek an
alternative to grains this season. Producers are expected to switch from
grains to cotton amid better market conditions for the fiber. The planting
of wheat has decreased this season from last year, and Texas farmers will
also likely shift from corn to alternatives (most likely cotton), due to
better market conditions and lower production costs.

In another article in AgriLife Today, cattle market prices have
been on the rise as feedlots and meat packers try to keep up with
demand. Cattle market prices have reacted in a positive way for
producers recently as a result of high retail and consumer demand
for beef products. According to the article, cattle prices are up
due to good foreign and domestic demand. Even the weather,
including above-average temperatures and below-average rain, may
be factoring into better sale prices for producers as consumers
kick off grilling season earlier than usual. The rise in prices is
an early indication of the spring price rally that typically
peaks around April. More beef is also being produced than this
time last year.

The following information was provided by the Texas Crop and
Weather Reports written February 22 and February 28:

FOR THE COASTAL BEND DISTRICT:

*  Heavy rains, from 2-4 inches, fell in most areas, and windstorms
   reportedly damaged farm buildings, equipment and trees in some areas.

*  Excess moisture delayed corn planting in some areas,
   while crops were emerging in other areas.

*  A lack of topsoil moisture had slowed sorghum planting.

*  Corn planting began, but field work will be slowed by heavy rains.

*  Rice farmers began field preparations.

*  Pastures continued to green rapidly, and cattle were finding
   plenty of green forage.

*  Cattle continued to be fed hay and protein and were in good shape.

*  Mesquite trees were budding, indicating an early spring.
   Fruit and citrus trees were beginning to bloom.


FOR THE WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE HSA:

*   Dry, hot and windy conditions continued throughout the district.
    Winds and high temperatures dried topsoil. Some spotty showers
were reported, but were not significant enough to improve fields
and pasture conditions.

*Temperatures brought summer perennial grasses out of dormancy in
    some areas.

*   Wheat and oat crops were under irrigation and in the heading
    stage.

*   Spinach harvests were active again for both fresh and processed
    varieties. Onions also made good progress. No insect pressures
were reported on fields.

*   A few early planted corn fields emerged but missed their first
    chance for additional moisture. Good stands of corn were reported
and many fields were expected to be planted within the next two weeks.

*   Body condition scores on cattle remained fair, and supplemental
    feeding remained steady. Cattle were being marketed and still in
fair to good condition.

*   Cotton planting was still about two weeks away.


FIRE DANGER HAZARDS...
According to the Fire Danger Map from the Texas Inter-Agency
Coordination Center (TICC) on March 1, there was a moderate
fire danger over the eastern half of the HSA (essentially from Jim
Wells and Live Oak Counties eastward), with high to extreme fire
danger over the western portions of South Texas. Warm temperatures and
high winds with low humidity have resulted in elevated to
critical fire weather conditions at times. Recent 100 hour and
1000 hour fuel moisture percentiles are adequate (35 to 50
percent) to good (51 to 100 percent) over nearly all of the HSA.

With many fuels still cured the fire danger has been high at times,
especially when very low humidity and higher winds have been observed.
This happened on February 24 behind a cold front which brought breezy
conditions, low humidity but no rainfall. A few sporadic wildfires have
occurred since early February; however, no large wildfires were
reported.

Recent rainfall over the Northern Coastal Bend and Victoria area
has brought low county-averaged Keetch-Byram Drought Indices (KBDI)
to that portion of the HSA. However, moderate values were observed
farther south and west. The highest KBDI values remain over Kleberg
and Nueces Counties (400 - 500), but have decreased since early
February. As of March 2, county-averaged KBDI values were:

700-800: None
600-700: None
500-600: None
400-500: Nueces and Kleberg
300-400: Webb, Duval, Jim Wells, La Salle and San Patricio
200-300: McMullen, Refugio, Aransas, Live Oak and Bee
0 - 200: Goliad, Victoria and Calhoun

Hopefully, expected above normal rainfall over the weekend and
next week will not only lower KBDI values and the fire danger, but
help continue to alleviate the drought.


CLIMATE SUMMARY...
While the temperatures over South Texas in February were well above
normal, rainfall was more variable. As mentioned earlier, while
the Victoria Crossroads area and Northeastern Coastal Bend saw above
normal rainfall during February (from around 110% to around 250%
of normal rainfall), much of the Southern Coastal Bend and
Southern Brush Country (i.e. most of Nueces, Kleberg, Jim Wells
and southeastern Duval Counties) continued to see below normal
rainfall (many areas seeing less than 75% of their normal rainfall
for the month). Also, much of Northwestern Webb County saw no
more than 75% of their normal rainfall during February.
Unfortunately, most of the aforementioned dry areas saw below
normal rainfall in January too. Fortunately, adequate rainfall in
December over most of South Texas kept the drought from spreading
farther into the HSA.

During the last 90 days, most of South Texas has seen near to above normal
rainfall. However, most of the eastern portions of the coastal counties
saw deficits of nearly three inches. While the rainfall has been
variable, temperatures have been well above normal over South
Texas over the last 90 days (and in fact since the beginning of
the 2017 Water Year which began October 1 2016). Much of the
above normal temperatures have been due to well above normal high
temperatures. From December 1 2016 through February 28 2017,
temperatures were 6.5 degrees above normal at Corpus Christi, 7.0
degrees above normal at Victoria, and 6.7 degrees above normal at
Laredo.

The following table shows the monthly rainfall amounts so far in
February, rainfall so far in 2017, and rainfall so far this Water
Year (starting October 1 2016). All values are in inches.
Rainfall departures from normal are shown in parenthesis:

                                                  2017 Water Year
                    February            2017        10/01/2016 -
                                                    02/28/2017

Corpus Christi     2.57 (+0.64)     2.84  (-0.63)   7.23 (-3.16)

Victoria           4.84 (+2.76)     8.60  (+4.00)  15.72 (+0.93)

Laredo Airport     0.96 (+0.02)     0.97  (-0.87)   3.34 (-2.76)

For the three climate stations at the end of February, the 2017
percentage of normal rainfall is: 81.8 percent at Corpus Christi,
187.0 percent at Victoria, and 52.7 percent at Laredo.

The 2017 Water Year percentages ending February 28 are: 69.6 percent
at Corpus Christi, 106.3 percent at Victoria, and 54.8 percent at
Laredo.

ENSO-neutral (El-Nino/Southern Oscillation neutral) conditions
continue over the equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to CPC,
slightly below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were
observed across the central Equatorial Pacific and above-average
SSTs were increasing in the Eastern Pacific. During recent weeks,
warm temperature anomalies were increasing in the Equatorial Pacific,
with the latest weekly Nino 3 Index being +0.6 Celsius degrees.

According to CPC, most models predict the continuation of ENSO-
neutral (a 3-month average Nino-3.4 index between -0.5C and
0.5C) through the Northern Hemisphere summer. However, a few
dynamic models anticipate an onset of El Nino as soon as the
Northern Hemisphere spring (March-May 2017), which may hold true
considering the rapid rise of positive temperature anomalies.
However, because of typically high uncertainty in forecasts made
at this time of the year for the upcoming spring and summer, the
forecaster consensus favors ENSO-neutral during the spring.
Thus, CPC says there is about a 60% chance for neutral conditions to
continue during the spring of 2017.


PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS...
The rainfall forecast for the next seven days (from the evening
of March 2 through 6 AM Thursday March 9) is as follows. Rain
chances begining Friday March 3 and continue through the weekend,
as a coastal trough develops along with the approach of an upper
level disturbance. The best chances for precipitation will be
Saturday and Saturday night (March 4), with rainfall tapering off
from west to east Sunday March 5. During this time, rainfall
amounts are expected to average from around 3/4 inch over areas
near the Rio Grande, to between 2 and 2 1/2 inches near the
southern coastal areas. After a short reprieve, rain chances
return on Tuesday March 7 with another frontal boundary, with a
slight chance for precipitation on Wednesday. Rainfall amounts for
the period March 7 through March 9 will range from between 1/4
and 1/2 inch over most inland areas, to between 1/2 and 1 inch
over the coastal counties and Victoria Crossroads region.

The temperature forecast for the next seven days (from the evening
of March 2 through 6 AM Thursday March 9) is as follows. Near to
slightly below normal high temperatures are expected Friday and
Saturday due to rainfall and clouds. Near to slightly above normal
daytime temperatures are expected Sunday March 5, and Wednesday
March 8, with well above normal daytime temperatures March 6 and
March 7.

The 8 to 14 day temperature and rainfall outlooks for the period
(March 10 through March 16) call for above normal rainfall and above
normal temperatures respectively, over the entire HSA.

The monthly rainfall outlook for March (issued February 28)
shows a equal chances for near/above/below normal rainfall over
all of South Texas.

The monthly temperature outlook for March (also issued February
28) shows a greater likelihood for above normal temperatures over
all of the HSA.

The CPC 3 month outlooks (March through May 2017) for temperatures
and rainfall (issued February 16) forecast a greater likelihood for
above normal temperatures, but equal chances for above/near/below
normal rainfall for all of the HSA.

The March Drought Outlook (issued February 28) calls for
drought conditions to be eliminated over the D1 area, and to
improve over the D2 area. However, the Seasonal Drought Monitor,
(valid through the end of May and issued on February 16), still
calls for the drought to persist over the drought-stricken areas at
the time of issuance. Considering that drought conditions have
improved since the issuance of the Seasonal Drought Outlook, a
higher weight should be given to the Monthly Drought Outlook product.
In any case, the Seasonal and Monthly Drought Outlook products
show that drought conditions do not expand into other non-drought
or dry areas.

The lagged soil moisture outlook valid through the end of
May 2017 calls for slightly above normal soil conditions over the
HSA.


HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
According to the USGS streamflow map on March 1, South Texas
rivers and creeks south and west of the San Antonio River Basin
range from having near normal flows to having well below normal
flows. Locations with well below normal flows include the Frio
River, the Nueces River south of Lake Corpus Christi, and the
southern coastal creeks (Oso, and San Fernando). On the other hand,
the San Antonio and Guadalupe River Basins (and nearby creeks) have
above normal flows due to recent rainfall (except for below normal
flows on Coleto Creek due to water being detained by Coleto Creek
Reservoir). The remaining river locations have near normal flows
as of March 1.

Despite the rainfall during February, Lake Corpus Christi and
Choke Canyon Dam fell slightly since early February. Elsewhere,
Canyon Dam and Lake Texana remain near pool capacity, while Lake
Amistad continues around 80 percent capacity. Coleto Creek is
about 1/2 foot below capacity.

The following table shows the current reservoir levels as of
March 2 2017, and previous levels as of February 9 2017.

Reservoir      Normal  Current  Percent  Previous Change
                Pool     Pool  Capacity    Pool    (ft)
Choke Canyon   220.5    200.3    40.3     200.5    -0.2
Lake C. C.      94.0     92.8    91.2      93.0    -0.2
Lake Texana     44.0     44.1   100.6      44.1    +0.0
Coleto Creek    98.0     97.5     n/a      96.1    +1.4
Canyon Dam     909.0    910.1   100.0     909.3    +0.8
Lake Amistad  1117.0   1096.4    81.7    1096.7    -0.3

The combined system capacity for the Corpus Christi Reservoir
System as of March 2 was at 54.1 percent, which is 0.7
percentage points lower than on February 9.

Hopefully, rainfall expected this weekend and next week helps
to provide some recharge to the Corpus Christi reservoirs, as
well as to eliminate drought conditions over the HSA.


NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...
The next Drought Information Statement will likely be issued
sometime in April 2017, or possibly earlier if conditions
change dramatically.


RELATED WEB SITES...

NWS CORPUS CHRISTI DROUGHT PAGE:
http://www.weather.gov/crp/drought

Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS):
http://water.weather.gov/precip

U.S. Drought Monitor (includes drought and soil moisture
outlooks, drought archives and temperature/rainfall outlooks):
http://drought.unl.edu/monitor.html

U.S. Drought Monitor (includes only Texas):
http://drought.unl.edu/dm_state.htm?tx,s

U.S. Drought Portal:
http://www.drought.gov

Texas Drought Monitoring Site:
http://www.txwin.net/monitoring/meteorological/drought/indices.htm

NOAA Drought Page:
http://www.drought.noaa.gov

Drought Impact Reporter:
http://droughtreporter.unl.edu/

National Drought Mitigation Center:
http://drought.unl.edu

Texas Water Development Board Drought Website:
http://www.waterdatafortexas.org/drought/

Vegetation Drought Response Index:
http://drought.unl.edu.vegdri/vegdri_main.htm?ev

Climate Prediction Center (CPC):
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Weather Prediction Center (WPC):
http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI):
http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/spi/spi.html

Agnews: Texas A & M Agricultural Program
(Crop and Weather Report): http://today.agrilife.org

Texas Interagency Coordination Center (TICC):
http://www.tamu.edu/ticc/

Texas Burn Bans:
http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/decban.png

Texas KBDI:
http://webgis.tamu.edu/tfs/kbdi_daily/kbdicounty.png

Texas Observed Fire Danger:
http://twc.tamu.edu/tfs/raws/rawsd.png

Texas Forecast Fire Danger:
http://twc.tamu.edu/tfs/raws/rawsfcst.png

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (water restrictions):
http://www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkinater/trot/location.html

Corpus Christi Water Department:
http://www.cctexas.com/government/water

Corpus Christi Water Conservation:
http://www.cctexas.com/assets/departments/water/files/waterconservationplan.pdf

Victoria Water Conservation:
http://www.victoriatx.org/pio/pdfs/watersavingmethods.pdf

Laredo Water Restrictions and Conservation:
http://www.ci.laredo.tx.us/utilities05/ordinance/2009_ordinance.pdf

City of victoria Web Site:
http://www.victoriatx.org

City of Laredo Web Site:
http://www.ci.laredo.tx.us

City of Portland Web Site:
http://www.portlandtx.com

Texas Crop and Weather Reports:
http://www.today.agrilife.org

Additional River Information:
NWS: http://www.weather.gov/ahps/
USGS: http://water.usgs.gov/
IBWC: http://ibwc.state.gov/


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
The drought monitor is a multi-agency effort involving the
National Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center, the
USDA, state and regional center climatologists and the National
Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this statement has been
gathered from NWS and FAA observation sites, state cooperative
extension services, the USDA, USACE and USGS.


QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...
If you have any questions or comments about this drought
information statement, please contact:
National Weather Service
426 Pinson Drive
Corpus Christi TX 78406
Phone: 361-289-0959
sr-crp.webmaster@noaa.gov

$$

GW


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