Drought Information Statement
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Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
912 PM CDT Thu May 31 2018

TXC017-045-069-075-079-101-107-125-153-169-189-191-219-263-269-
279-303-305-345-369-433-437-445-501-030215-
912 PM CDT Thu May 31 2018

...Rainfall benefited some areas in May but drought levels in the
Western South Plains have worsened...
...And, as if May was not hot enough, another two weeks of hot
and dry weather look very possible or likely...

Synopsis...

Somewhat regular rain fell from the central South Plains into the
Rolling Plains during the middle of May helping ease drought
concerns over the Rolling Plains. Childress received 5.14 inches
of rain during May, including 8 consecutive days from May 13th to
the 20th, and finished the month more than 3 inches above normal.
Thus, drought conditions have improved to moderate (D1) to severe
levels (D2) over much of the Rolling Plains with the exception of
extreme drought (D3) over eastern Cottle and northern King
Counties. However, over the western South Plains many locations
ended May with barely a few hundredths of an inch up to about a
half inch of rain, at least 2 inches below normal. May typically
marks the start of the spring and summer wet season over the
Texas South Plains region. Many areas east of the Interstate 27
and US 87 corridors fared well, but most areas to the west fared
poorly.

May also brought more than it`s share of hot weather. A three day
hot spell from the 10th to the 12th with temperatures over 100
degrees on the Caprock, was topped-off by nearly a full week of
very hot temperatures the final week of May. May ended with 8 days
over 100 degrees at Lubbock - and was by far the hottest May on
record. In fact, May was as hot as a typical June. For all
practical purposes, summer has begun nearly a full month ahead of
schedule. And we are not done with the hot and dry weather. See
the precipitation and temperature outlook below.

Climate Summary...
La Nina, which was a significant driver in the 8 month long
drought thus far, officially ended in May. Neutral oceanic
temperatures have followed. Lingering impacts of the persistent
dry pattern have remained, however, with upper level high
pressure abnormally strong from northern Mexico into west Texas.
Considerable sub-surface warm ocean waters reside increasingly in
the eastern Pacific Ocean, and could lead to dramatic changes
toward wetter conditions nearby during the summer. In fact, the
Climate Prediction Center has increased the chances for El Nino to
50 percent during the fall and winter of 2018 and 2019. El Nino
often produces wetter than normal conditions throughout the Texas
South Plains region.

In spite of a reason to hope for change to wetter, late spring
and early summer are tricky to forecast late in drought periods.
Sometimes a persistent hot dry pattern in late spring is able to
self-feed and prolong the hot, dry pattern later in the summer
than would be expected. This could be a root cause of the current
heat wave, and portends possible prolonged heat well into June.

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook...
The current heat wave is expected to ease temporarily this
weekend, with at least a small chance of rain and a one day
cooldown closer to normal temperatures Sunday. A few locations
may benefit from wetting rainfall, but this is unlikely to be
widespread with rainfall mostly under a tenth of an inch on the
Caprock and less than a quarter inch over the Rolling Plains.

Upper level high pressure is expected to rebuild overhead strongly
next week and may persist through the following week as well.
Official outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center indicate a
very high probability of hotter than normal weather through at
least June 14th. Temperatures may continue to average 10 to 12
degrees above normal during this time with little significant
rainfall as well. And late June continues to favor generally dry
and warmer or hotter than normal. Longer range charts, through
late summer, continue in favor of warmer than normal but near
normal rainfall perhaps during July and August.

Agricultural Impacts...

The following is summarized or copied directly from the Texas
Crop and Weather Report May 22, 2018 from Texas A&M Agrilife:

Over the Rolling Plains, much-needed moisture fell across parts of
the area which should help the soil profile. Grasses were starting
to green up. Wheat and oats were baled. Wheat not yet baled was
close to harvest. Haygrazer was planted and emerging. Forages
were starting to grow. Producers were supplementing with hay or
cake in the drier counties. Spring calving continued. Cotton
planting began.

Over the South Plains, subsoil and topsoil conditions remained
very dry. More rain was needed for all aspects of agriculture.
Some damaging hail also was received. Irrigated cotton and corn
emerged and was off to a fast start due to hot temperatures.
Wireworms were an early concern. Crops under irrigation were doing
well. Pastures and rangeland were in poor to fair condition.
Cattle were in generally good condition.

Fire Weather Impacts...

Lingering hot and breezy conditions have prolonged fire weather
concerns, especially from the western South Plains into the
southwest Texas Panhandle. Prolonged heat into mid June may lead
to increasing drying and curing of current green grasses which may
become ignition sources for future dry lightning activity.
Occasional elevated fire weather concerns are likely to continue
where seasonal greening has not fully occurred.

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook...

Reservoir storage remained at fair levels for this time of year
and compared to other drought seasons. Minor changes, in general,
were noted since the first of May. Irrigation use is likely to
increase in coming weeks, especially with less than normal rain.

The following reservoir conditions were reported May 31st:

              Conversation   Pool    5 Week   Percent
               Pool(feet)    Today   Change   Capacity

MACKENZIE LAKE    3100       3024.1   -0.6      16
WHITE RIVER LAKE  2370       2349.2    0.0      16
LAKE ALAN HENRY   2220       2214.0   +1.4      84
LAKE MEREDITH     2936       2888.1   -0.1      40

This product will be updated as significant changes occur.

&&

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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