Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS

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Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
221 PM CST Thu Feb 22 2018

TXC017-045-069-075-079-101-107-125-153-169-189-191-219-263-269-
279-303-305-345-369-433-437-445-501-242030-
221 PM CST Thu Feb 22 2018

...First rainfall in several months...but drought has deepened...

Synopsis...

Another month with very little rain has led to expansion of
Extreme Drought (D3) and Severe Drought (D2) across all of the
Texas South Plains, Rolling Plains and the extreme southern Texas
Panhandle. This is part of a large area of drought blanketing
nearly all of the southwest and south-central U.S. This
information is from the latest U.S. Drought Monitor product.

Climate Summary...

This drought is attributed to the on-going La Nina over the
Tropical Pacific Ocean that has buckled the Asian jet stream
causing a blocking high pressure ridge near or along the U.S. West
Coast. This block has allowed only minor disturbances and skimpy
moisture to move into the southern plains - until recently. Within
the past week to 10 days, the blocking ridge has been replaced by
a strong, persistent western U.S. upper level low pressure trough
that has allowed a return of moisture and over-running
disturbances. Rainfall of a half inch or more fell across the
northern South Plains and southern Texas Panhandle the night of
February 16th and early on the 17th, with at least some amount of
measurable rain reported at nearly every observing site. That was
the first measurable rainfall in about 100 days for many
locations. Additional disturbances crossed the region around
February 20th through the 22nd, with mostly light totals favoring
the Rolling Plains.

This recent rain has not been enough to significantly reverse the
four month dry spell. But it has been a welcome change and a
hopeful indicator that favorable weather patterns may lead to
future rainfall. Also, the recent change suggested a possible
weakening of the La Nina pattern - and all forecast signals
indicate a return to neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
conditions during the spring.

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook...

Near normal temperatures and below normal precipitation is
favored into early March. Beyond then, La Nina will gradually
weaken but still is expected to remain the dominant signal the
first half of spring. This will continue to favor warmer and
drier than normal conditions. By late spring and early summer
under neutral ENSO conditions, warmer than normal temperatures and
equal chances for normal, above normal, and below normal rainfall
are indicated.

Fire Weather Impacts...

A number of large fires erupted in late January, and one fire over
the northern Rolling Plains burned for a number of days. With
large tracts of cured grasses remaining, any windy, warm, and dry
period will bring a risk of elevated to critical fire weather
conditions. There also will be a threat for very large fire growth
and multiple day burning periods.

Agricultural Impacts...

Soil moisture profiles have revealed fairly dry conditions as
deep as three feet in some areas. This may be a concern should
moisture remain lacking through field preparation and planting.
Irrigation needs likely will increase over the next month or two.

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook...

Reservoirs remain at fair storage levels, with no significant
change during the past month. The following reservoir conditions
were reported Feb 22:

Reservoir Summary Conservation Pool 4-Week Maximum Percent of Pool
                      POOL    TODAY CHANGE  DEPTH  CONSERVATION
                                 (FEET) CAPACITY

MACKENZIE LAKE        3100    3025.6   0.00   76   17

WHITE RIVER LAKE      2370    2530.3  -0.01   23   19

LAKE ALAN HENRY       2220    2213.9  -0.02   71   84

LAKE MEREDITH         2936    2888.8  -0.01   76   40


This product will next be updated March 29th - unless significant
changes occur before then.

&&

Related Web Sites:

U.S. Drought Monitor:
http://www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu

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

Office of the Texas State Climatologist:
http://www.climatetexas.tamu.edu

NWS Precipitation:
http://www.wather.weather.gov/precip

USGS:
http://www.water.usgs.gov

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

USDA:
http://www.usda.gov/oce/weather

Texas Agrilife Extension Agency Crop and Weather Report:
http://today.agrilife.org

Acknowledgements:
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, the Texas Tech University West Texas Mesonet,
State Cooperative Extension Services, the USDA, USACE, and USGS.

Questions or comments about this product? Please contact:

National Weather Service
2579 S Loop 289 Suite 100
Lubbock TX 79423
Phone: 806-745-4926
E-mail: lub.webmaster@noaa.gov

$$



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