Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS

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Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
958 AM CST Thu Nov 12 2020

...Drought conditions persist across the extreme southern Texas
Panhandle, South Plains and much of the Rolling Plains. Only the
extreme southern Rolling Plains are devoid of drought...

.SYNOPSIS:

The past month brought one bout of meaningful precipitation, in
the form of a winter storm in late October. Significant amounts of
freezing rain, sleet and snow fell on the region, bringing a
brief shot of moisture and record cold to the region. However, the
remainder of the past month was dry and included several very
warm stretches through the middle of October as well as in early
November. Overall, the net result was minimal change in the extent
and intensity of the drought over the past four weeks.

.Drought intensity and extent:

The November 12th U.S. Drought Monitor depicts conditions ranging
from no drought in the far southern Rolling Plains (Stonewall
County) to exceptional drought (D4) across most of the southwest
Texas Panhandle and western South Plains. Severe (D2) to extreme
(D3) drought encompasses the remainder of locations on the
Caprock, while moderate drought (D1) is in place over much of the
southeast Texas Panhandle into the central Rolling Plains.

.Precipitation:

One winter storm affected the region in the past month. The late
October storm provided a widespread hard freeze, record cold, and
several rounds of frozen precipitation. Many locations recorded
heavy accumulations of sleet and freezing rain, while several
inches of snow fell over the extreme southwest Texas Panhandle
and northwest South Plains. The liquid equivalent from all of the
wintry precipitation generally ranged from around a half inch over
the western South Plains to 1 to 2 inches over the southeast Texas
Panhandle and most of the Rolling Plains. The exception was across
the southwest South Plains where totals were closer to a quarter
inch. The Lubbock Airport officially measured 0.77 inches, which
boosted the yearly total to 11.39 inches. This total, as of
November 11th, is 6.48 inches below the normal of 17.87 inches,
or about 64% of average. Moisture from the winter storm allowed
parts of the southeast Texas Panhandle into the eastern Rolling
Plains to finish October with near average monthly precipitation.
Elsewhere, although the late October moisture was beneficial, most
locations still finished the month of October with below average
precipitation. The first part of November has been dry, and this
is on top of dry conditions prevailing most of September and much
of October before the late month winter storm. Thus, the longer
term rainfall deficits for the region, outside of the far eastern
Rolling Plains, remain much below average.

.Hydrologic conditions:

Soil moisture outside of areas with irrigation remains very low,
especially on the Caprock where the soil moisture ranks in the
lowest one percentile. Area lakes continue to slowly decline.
White River Lake and Lake Mackenzie have fallen to 13 and 9
percent of capacity. Lake Alan Henry remains in good shape at 90
percent of capacity.

The following reservoir conditions were reported November 12th:

RESERVOIR SUMMARY CONSERVATION POOL  1 MONTH  MAXIMUM PERCENT of
                      POOL    TODAY  CHANGE   DEPTH  CONSERVATION
                                              (feet)  CAPACITY
Mackenzie Lake        3100    3014.6  -0.30      65       9
White River Lake      2370    2347.5  -0.50      21      13
Lake Alan Henry       2220    2216.4  -0.50      73      90
Lake Meredith         2936    2885.8  -0.20      73      36

.Fire impacts:

The cool season is the favored time for increased fire weather
concerns in West Texas, and this will be amplified by the ongoing
drought. Although the moisture from the late October winter storm
was beneficial, the system also provide the first widespread hard
freeze, meaning most vegetation has gone dormant. ERC values have
dropped as a result of the late October cold and moisture, but
are already trending back above average, and fuels have already
become receptive to fire. Given the expected continuation of the
drought, and likely minimal moisture through the winter, fuels
will trend increasingly volatile. This will set the stage for
potential significant wildfires when coupled with low relative
humidity and high wind days. Such conditions are common with
strong storm systems passing by just to our north, which happen
most frequently during the winter into the spring.

.SUMMARY OF IMPACTS:

The recent freezing rain and snow event has added some moisture
to the top 2 inches of soil in some places, however this moisture
has been minimal and has since dried in most areas. Farmers have
returned to defoliating cotton fields and stripping dryland
fields. Winter wheat planted in irrigated fields has continued to
emerge and has been aided by the recent freezing rain and snow
melt off. Cattle were requiring supplemental feed amid poor
pasture conditions on the South Plains. The preceding data was a
summary of numerous crop bulletins including the USDA Weekly
Weather and Crop Bulletin, Texas A&M Texas Crop and Weather
Report, and the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association Cotton
Market Weekly.

.DROUGHT MITIGATION ACTIONS:

None reported.

.LOCAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK:

Precipitation chances remain low during the next seven days, with
only a brief window for light precipitation Friday into early
Saturday. La Nia is forecast by CPC to persist through the
winter months. This increases the likelihood of below normal
precipitation and above normal temperatures from November through
January. Thus, generally dry conditions are expected to persist
over the next month and through the winter months. Even so, a
rogue winter storm or two remain possible, and could provide at
least a brief shot of moisture to the region.

.NEXT ISSUANCE DATE:

This product will be updated Thursday December 10 or sooner if
drought conditions change significantly.

.RELATED WEB SITES:

Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following web addresses:
US Drought Monitor: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu
US Drought Information System: https://www.drought.gov
NOAA Drought Page: https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Drought
Office of the Texas State Climatologist:
http://www.climatetexas.tamu.edu

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

Additional water and river information:
NWS: https://water.weather.gov
OWP: https://water.noaa.gov
US Geological Survey (USGS): https://water.usgs.gov
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE): https://www.usace.army.mil

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

.CONTACT INFORMATION:

If you have questions or comments about this Drought Information
Statement, please contact:

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

$$


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