Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Amarillo, TX

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AXUS74 KAMA 231526

Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Amarillo TX
925 AM CST Fri Feb 23 2018

...Extreme to Severe drought conditions continue across the Oklahoma
and Texas Panhandles as a result of much below normal


As a result of the latest U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) update
released on February 20th, Extreme Drought (D3) conditions continue
into much of the combined Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. Severe
Drought (D2) conditions remain across the rest of the combined
Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles (primarily far western portions).
Conditions across the Panhandles continue to worsen due to the lack
of precipitation. Nearly the entire forecast area is in extreme
drought conditions. There was a little relief across the forecast
area the past week. This was mainly far eastern areas, especially
the southeastern Texas Panhandle where a few locations picked up
around a quarter of an inch of moisture.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Amarillo covers 23 counties
which includes all of the Oklahoma Panhandle and all of the Texas

There are 5 levels of intensity with regards to the USDM and those
levels are as follows:

D0 - Abnormally Dry
D1 - Moderate Drought
D2 - Severe Drought
D3 - Extreme Drought
D4 - Exceptional Drought

The USDM releases a weekly product each Thursday morning and is
produced through a partnership between the National Drought
Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). The USDM is based on measurements of
climatic, hydrologic, and soil conditions as well as reported
impacts and observations.

The local Drought Information Statement is issued by the NWS office
in Amarillo when needed to supplement the national USDM product.
Local statements may be issued bi-weekly during times when the USDM
indicates severe drought conditions or as local conditions warrant.

Summary of Impacts...

State and Local Actions:
No known state or local actions are currently in place at this time.

Agricultural Impacts:
Both Texas Agrilife Extension agents across
the Texas Panhandle and agents of the USDA Farm Service Agencies in
the Oklahoma Panhandle are still seeing similar issues that have
been occurring over the past month. Some of the eastern Panhandles
have received light amounts of precipitation over the past week;
however, this has not been able to have much of a huge impact on
reversing impacts to winter wheat.

Fire Impacts:
Near to above normal precipitation this past spring
and summer has resulted in above normal fuel loading. Drought
conditions that began in October 2017 and persisted into this month
along with cured fuels have increased the significant fire danger
potential this winter. The Energy Release Component (ERC) values
have dropped back to around the 75th percentile or below and are
likely to increase again to between the 75th and 90th percentile
over the next couple of weeks providing above normal temperatures
most days and lack of any precipitation. ERC values are currently
between 50 and 60 with the exception of the Wheeler RAWS station of
between 25 and 30.

As of February 22, countywide outdoor burn bans were supported in
Dallam, Sherman, Hansford, Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Hartley, Moore,
Hutchinson, Roberts, Hemphill, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray,
Wheeler, Deaf Smith, Randall, Armstrong, Donley, and Collingsworth
counties in the Texas Panhandle. In the Oklahoma Panhandle,
Cimarron, Texas and Beaver counties were in countywide burn bans.

Note that the fire danger conditions can change quickly from day to
day as 20 foot winds and minimum afternoon relative humidities vary.
The Texas A&M Forest Service advises to watch out for key weather
thresholds of 20 foot winds above 15 to 20 mph and relative
humidities below 15 to 20 percent. When these thresholds are
exceeded, expect the fire danger conditions to increase to elevated
and critical.

Climate Summary...

Since the last drought statement, little to no precipitation has
fallen across western parts of the Panhandles, but some areas across
eastern parts of the Panhandles received moisture near a quarter of
an inch.

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook...

Overall, there is little to no chance for precipitation in the next
7 days across the combined Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles.

Across the NWS Amarillo area, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
outlook shows equal to slightly above normal probability for
precipitation in the 6-10 day, but below normal probability for
precipitation in the 8-14 day periods. These probabilities were
updated on February 22nd.

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook...

Area reservoirs are below conservation levels and stream flows are
near normal with a few rivers and creeks running slightly below
normal in the eastern Panhandles.

Next Issuance Date...

The drought information statement may be updated on March 30th,
2018, or sooner if significant chances in drought conditions occur.

Related Websites...

U.S. Drought Portal

U.S. Drought Monitor

National Weather Service Amarillo

Texas A&M AgriLife

Oklahoma Agriculture Food and Forestry

Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District

U.S. Geological Survey Realtime Data

U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch

Climate Prediction Center


The U.S. Drought Monitor is a collaborative effort between several
government and academic partners including the NWS, the National
Climatic Data Center, the USDA, state and regional climatologists,
and the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Information for this statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA
observation sites, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S.
Geological Survey.

Questions or Comments...

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information
statement, please contact:

National Weather Service Amarillo
1900 English Road
Amarillo, Texas 79108


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