Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Amarillo, TX

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AXUS74 KAMA 141927
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OKC007-025-139-TXC011-065-087-111-117-129-179-195-205-211-233-295-341
-357-359-375-381-393-421-483-132359-

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX
223 PM CDT SAT MAR 14 2015

...RECENT WET WINTER WEATHER PATTERN CONTINUES STEADY DROUGHT
IMPROVEMENT ACROSS THE PANHANDLES...

SYNOPSIS...

THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR (USDM)...ISSUED THROUGH THE NATIONAL DROUGHT
MITIGATION CENTER ON MARCH 10TH...CONTINUES TO DEPICT EXTREME (D3)
DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN THE CENTRAL THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE AND ALONG A
LINE FROM NEAR DALHART SOUTHEASTWARD THROUGH COLLINGSWORTH COUNTY. A
MIX OF MODERATE (D1) TO SEVERE (D2) DROUGHT CONDITIONS IS DEPICTED
TO THE SOUTH AND WEST OF THIS LINE...AND A SMALL AREA OF EXCEPTIONAL
(D4) DROUGHT CONDITIONS IS DEPICTED BETWEEN BORGER AND DUMAS. IN FAR
SOUTHEASTERN DEAF SMITH COUNTY...REPEATED SNOW AND RAIN HAVE EASED
CONDITIONS TO AN ABNORMALLY DRY (D0) RATING. THE REMAINDER OF THE
OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE REMAINS RATED AT SEVERE (D2) DROUGHT CONDITIONS.
SHORT-TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS CONTINUE FOR ALL OF THE PANHANDLES EXCEPT
THE FAR SOUTHWEST TEXAS PANHANDLE...WHERE BENEFICIAL PRECIPITATION
HAS CONTINUED THROUGH THE WINTER. MEANWHILE...SHORT-TERM DRYNESS
CONTINUES GENERALLY ACROSS THE THE EASTERN HALF OF THE PANHANDLES.
LONG-TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS REMAIN ACROSS THE WHOLE AREA...INCLUDING
LOW RESERVOIR LEVELS...DRIER THAN NORMAL SOIL MOISTURE...AND THINNED
GRASS STANDS ON RANGELAND.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS.
FEW SHORT-TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS ARE BEING EXPERIENCED ACROSS THE TEXAS
AND OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES AS WINTER TRANSITIONS TO SPRING...WITH AT
LEAST SOME SOIL MOISTURE AVAILABLE FOR SPRING PLANTING. COMPARED
WITH LAST WINTER...HIGH WINDS HAVE BEEN LESS COMMON AND TEMPERATURES
HAVE GENERALLY REMAINED NEAR SEASONAL NORMS. IN THE DRIEST AREAS...
DRYLAND CROPS AND GRASS LANDS SHOW SOME SIGNS OF DROUGHT STRESS...
ESPECIALLY ON WINTER WHEAT ACREAGE THAT WAS PLANTED LATE. ACROSS
CENTRAL AND WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE PANHANDLES...UPPER ZONE SOIL
MOISTURE IS MOSTLY SLIGHT AGRICULTURALLY DRY (20 TO 30 PERCENT FULL)
TO NEUTRAL (30 TO 40 PERCENT FULL)...WITH SOME AREAS RATED ABOVE
40 PERCENT FULL. ACROSS THE EASTERN ONE-THIRD OF THE PANHANDLES...
UPPER ZONE SOILS RANGE FROM MODERATE AGRICULTURALLY DRY (10 TO 20
PERCENT FULL) TO SLIGHT AGRICULTURALLY DRY. LOWER ZONE SOILS ARE AT
30 TO 50 PERCENT OF NORMAL OR DRIER ACROSS MOST OF THE PANHANDLES...
WITH THE EXCEPTION BEING AREAS AT NEAR NORMAL ACROSS MOST OF THE
OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE AND ACROSS THE SOUTHERN AND WESTERN TEXAS
PANHANDLE. THE PALMER DROUGHT SEVERITY INDEX...AN INDICATOR OF LONG-
TERM DROUGHT...MAINTAINS A RATING OF NEAR NORMAL FOR THE TEXAS HIGH
PLAINS REGION AND FOR THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE AS OF MARCH 7TH. THE
PALMER CROP MOISTURE INDEX...AN INDICATOR OF SHORT-TERM DROUGHT...
INDICATED FAVORABLY MOIST CONDITIONS FOR THE TEXAS HIGH PLAINS REGION
AND FOR THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE ON MARCH 7TH.

ACCORDING TO THE CROP AND WEATHER REPORT ISSUED MARCH 10TH BY THE
TEXAS A&M AGRILIFE PROGRAM...THE FOLLOWING AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS WERE
NOTED ACROSS THE TEXAS PANHANDLE. THE PREVIOUS WEEK BEGAN WITH
NEAR-AVERAGE TEMPERATURES BUT A MIDWEEK COLD FRONT BROUGHT
SNOW...ICE...AND RAIN TO THE REGION. WINTRY PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS
RANGED FROM A TRACE TO AS MUCH AS 6 INCHES. MANY FIELDS WERE TOO WET
FOR FIELDWORK FOR SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE STORM. WHERE CONDITIONS
ALLOWED...FARMERS BEGAN TO PREPARE FIELDS AND MAKE PLANTING
DECISIONS. WINTER WHEAT WAS COMING ALONG WELL...WITH AMPLE MOISTURE
GOING INTO SPRING. STOCKER CATTLE WERE BECOMING A MORE COMMON
SIGHT...AND SOME PRODUCERS WERE CONSIDERING GRAZING OUT WHEAT IF
THEY CAN GET ENOUGH CATTLE. SEVERELY COLD WEATHER WAS TOUGH ON
LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE FOR SEVERAL DAYS. CATTLE WERE BEING GIVEN
SUPPLEMENTAL FEED. RANGELAND AND PASTURES CONTINUED TO VARY IN
RATINGS FROM POOR TO FAIR...WITH MOST REPORTING GOOD TO FAIR.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS.
AMBIENT FIRE DANGER HAS REMAINED BELOW NORMAL SINCE THE END OF THE
GROWING SEASON...AS SHORT PERIODS OF DRYING CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN
MITIGATED BY ROUNDS OF RAIN OR SNOW. FOLLOWING THE BENEFICIAL
RAINFALL FROM THE GROWING SEASON...AREAS OF INCREASED FUEL LOADING
WILL BE SUSCEPTIBLE TO PROLONGED PERIODS OF DRY AND WINDY WEATHER
THROUGH SPRING. RECENT RAINFALL AND SNOWFALL HAVE KEPT ENERGY RELEASE
COMPONENT (ERC) VALUES TO LESS THAN THE 50TH PERCENTILE...WITH
CURRENT ERC VALUES SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 35 AND 50.

AS OF MARCH 13TH...COUNTYWIDE OUTDOOR BURN BANS WERE SUPPORTED
IN ROBERTS...OLDHAM...DEAF SMITH...ARMSTRONG...AND COLLINGSWORTH
COUNTIES IN THE TEXAS PANHANDLE. IN THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE...NO
COUNTYWIDE BURN BANS WERE IN EFFECT.

NOTE THAT FIRE DANGER CAN CHANGE QUICKLY FROM DAY TO DAY AS WINDS AND
RELATIVE HUMIDITY VARY. THE TEXAS FOREST SERVICE ADVISES TO WATCH OUT
FOR KEY WEATHER THRESHOLDS OF 20 FOOT WINDS ABOVE 15 MPH AND RELATIVE
HUMIDITY BELOW 15 PERCENT. WHEN THESE THRESHOLDS ARE EXCEEDED...
EXPECT THE FIRE DANGER TO BE ELEVATED.

CURRENT WATER RESTRICTIONS.
SEVERAL PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS ACROSS THE PANHANDLES HAVE MAINTAINED
WATER USE WATCHES DURING THE ONGOING DROUGHT...WITH SOME OF THEM
PLACING VOLUNTARY AND EVEN MILD OR MODERATE MANDATORY RESTRICTIONS ON
USE. IN FEBRUARY...THE GREENBELT MIWA IN DONLEY COUNTY IMPROVED FROM
THE CONCERN PRIORITY TO WATCH PRIORITY ACCORDING TO TCEQ. PLEASE BE
AWARE OF ANY WATER USE RESTRICTIONS OR CONSERVATION EFFORTS IN YOUR
COMMUNITY.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

THE TRANSITION FROM WINTER TO SPRING HAS CLEARLY BEGUN ACROSS THE
TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES IN THE LAST WEEK...AS A MORE WESTERLY
JET STREAM HAS KEPT POLAR AIR LOCKED UP IN CANADA. THIS SHIFT IN
PATTERNS HAS ALLOWED WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS TO BUILD INTO THE
PANHANDLES SINCE EARLY MARCH...WITH TEMPERATURES NOW AVERAGING
BETWEEN 5 TO 10 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. THE
LAST 30 DAYS HAVE BROUGHT LIQUID EQUIVALENT PRECIPITATION TOTALS
RANGING FROM NEAR ONE QUARTER OF AN INCH IN THE EASTERN PANHANDLES TO
GREATER THAN 1 INCH IN THE NORTHWESTERN PANHANDLES. MOST FELL AS
SNOWFALL. OUT OF 121 YEARS ON RECORD...IT WAS THE 54TH WARMEST AND
52ND WETTEST FEBRUARY FOR THE TEXAS HIGH PLAINS CLIMATE DIVISION.
FOR THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE...IT WAS THE 61ST COOLEST AND 47TH WETTEST
FEBRUARY OUT OF THE LAST 121 YEARS.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

THROUGH THE NEXT WEEK AHEAD...HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT WILL KEEP THE
PANHANDLES WARM AND DRY FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE WEEK. THEN A FEW
WEAK UPPER-LEVEL DISTURBANCES WILL BRING CHANCES FOR RAIN TO MOST OF
THE PANHANDLES LATE IN THE WEEK AND INTO THE WEEKEND.

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) ISSUED AN EL NINO ADVISORY ON
MARCH 5TH. THEY REPORTS THAT ABOVE-AVERAGE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES
REMAINED IN PLACE ACROSS THE EASTERN HALF OF THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC
DURING FEBRUARY...WITH SIGNS OF THE ATMOSPHERE ALSO BEGINNING TO
RESEMBLE EL NINO CONDITIONS. SUBSURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES IN THE
PACIFIC INCREASED...SUGGESTING FURTHER REINFORCEMENT OF THE WARM
WATERS IN THE EASTERN PACIFIC. MORE CLIMATE MODELS ARE SUGGESTING A
CONTINUATION OF WEAK EL NINO CONDITIONS TO CONTINUE THROUGHOUT
2015...THEREFORE THE CPC FORECASTS A 50 TO 60 PERCENT CHANCE FOR EL
THE CURRENT EL NINO TO CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST SUMMER 2015. DUE TO
THE EXPECTED WEAK STRENGTH OF THIS EL NINO...WIDESPREAD OR
SIGNIFICANT GLOBAL IMPACTS ARE NOT ANTICIPATED...THOUGH SOME
REGIONAL IMPACTS MAY CONTINUE TO BE NOTICED. DURING EL NINO
EPISODES...THERE IS AN INCREASED CHANCE FOR NEAR OR ABOVE NORMAL
PRECIPITATION DURING THE LATE FALL THROUGH FOLLOWING SPRING PERIODS
IN THE TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES. THE INCREASED PRECIPITATION
ALSO TENDS TO REDUCE THE CHANCE FOR EXTREMELY HIGH TEMPERATURES
ACROSS THE REGION DURING THE SPRING.

THE CPC OUTLOOK FOR MARCH INDICATES SLIGHTLY BETTER CHANCES FOR BELOW
NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE PANHANDLES. ALSO FOR MARCH...THE CPC
OUTLOOK INDICATES EQUAL CHANCES FOR ABOVE...NEAR...OR BELOW NORMAL
PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE PANHANDLES. THE CPC OUTLOOK FOR MARCH
THROUGH MAY INDICATES SLIGHTLY BETTER CHANCES FOR BELOW NORMAL
TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE PANHANDLES. IT ALSO INDICATES BETTER CHANCES
FOR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION OVER THIS TIME PERIOD. THE LATEST U.S.
MONTHLY DROUGHT OUTLOOK...ISSUED BY THE CPC...FORECASTS THAT DROUGHT
CONDITIONS WILL LIKELY PERSIST OR INTENSIFY ACROSS THE PANHANDLES
THROUGH THE END OF MARCH. THE LATEST U.S. SEASONAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK
FORECASTS THAT DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY TO PERSIST OR INTENSIFY
FOR MUCH OF THE PANHANDLES THROUGH MAY.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

HYDROLOGIC IMPACTS.
ACCORDING TO THE USGS WATERWATCH...STREAMFLOWS ARE NEAR NORMAL
ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST TEXAS PANHANDLE...AND BELOW TO MUCH BELOW
NORMAL IN THE REMAINDER OF THE TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES. THIS
HAS RESULTED IN MODERATE TO SEVERE HYDROLOGIC DROUGHT CONDITIONS
ACROSS THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE PANHANDLES. LOWER ZONE SOILS RANGE
FROM EXTREME HYDROLOGICALLY DRY (1 TO 5 PERCENT FULL) TO SEVERE
HYDROLOGICALLY DRY (5 TO 10 PERCENT FULL) IN THE AREAS RATED AT D3
DROUGHT CONDITIONS...AND MOSTLY AT MODERATE HYDROLOGICALLY
DRY (10 TO 20 PERCENT FULL) ACROSS THE REST OF THE PANHANDLES.
RESERVOIRS REMAIN NEAR HISTORICALLY LOW DEPTHS.

RESERVOIR CONDITIONS AS OF MARCH 14TH...

                     CURRENT   CONSERVATION     CURRENT             %
                   ELEVATION       CAPACITY     STORAGE  CONSERVATION
RESERVOIR               (FT)        (AC-FT)     (AC-FT)      CAPACITY

PALO DURO             2833.09         61066         870          1.42
LAKE MEREDITH         2858.22        500000       27687          5.57
GREENBELT LAKE        2619.68         59968        7950         13.26

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...

THIS STATEMENT WILL BE UPDATED BY APRIL 10TH...OR SOONER IF
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS OCCUR.

RELATED WEB SITES...

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON CURRENT DROUGHT CONDITIONS MAY BE FOUND
AT THE FOLLOWING WEB ADDRESSES (USE LOWER CASE LETTERS):

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR...HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.UNL.EDU/DM/MONITOR.HTML
NOAA DROUGHT PAGE...HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.NOAA.GOV/
OFFICE OF TEXAS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST...HTTP://WWW.MET.TAMU.EDU/OSC/
NWS HYDROLOGIC SERVICES...HTTP://WATER.WEATHER.GOV/AHPS/
USGS...HTTP://WATER.USGS.GOV/
USACE...HTTP://WWW.SWT.USACE.ARMY.MIL/
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC)...HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV/
TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD...HTTP://WWW.TWDB.TEXAS.GOV/
TWDB RESERVOIR LEVELS...HTTP://WATERDATAFORTEXAS.ORG/
ARKANSAS-RED BASIN RIVER FORECAST CENTER...HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/ABRFC/
TEXAS A&M AGRILIFE...HTTP://AGRILIFE.ORG

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...

THE DROUGHT MONITOR IS A MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT INVOLVING NOAA`S
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
1900 ENGLISH ROAD
AMARILLO TEXAS  79108
PHONE: 806-335-1121
HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/AMA

$$

FENNER





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