Drought Information

  

U.S. Drought Monitor - North and Central Texas

 


Spring rainfall is easing drought conditions, but many lakes remain low.

 

Numerous rain events this spring have added considerable water to many area reservoirs.  Just 3 months ago, the water supply lakes for the city of Dallas were less than two thirds full but are now at nearly 95 percent of capacity.  Although many lakes continue to struggle in western portions of North Texas, Lake Mineral Wells doubled its storage during April and is full for the first time since early 2012.

The extent of at least severe drought (D2) within the state of Texas has fallen below 16% for the first time since November 2010.  During March and April, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex experienced improvement of 2 to 3 drought categories.  Much of Central and East Texas is now free of drought.  However, exceptional drought (D4) continues to plague the Possum Kingdom area where it has been in place since June 2014.

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook suggests additonal improvement could occur in portions of North and Central Texas with above normal rainfall expected to continue during the month of May.  Although the wet start to the year is helping the region's agriculture, the extensive hydrologic drought across western portions of North Texas is unlikely to end before the summer arrives.

  


Current Drought Conditions

  

U.S. Drought Monitor

 

U.S. Drought Monitor - Texas

 


Fire Danger

  

The growing season is in full swing.  Perennials, including warm season grasses, can effectively hold moisture long after rain events.  When green, this vegetation limits fire initiation and spread.  However, the spring months can still have days with low humidity and strong winds.  If these days occur after a prolonged dry spell, there can be a risk of wildfires, especially where extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist.

Even though there are no formal burn bans in effect within North or Central Texas, it is still important to be vigilant about fire usageAvoid open flames near dry vegetation, and assure all coals and embers are fully extinguished.

 

Texas Outdoor Burn Bans

Keetch-Byram Drought Index

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index is a drought statistic specifically designed to assess fire danger.

 


Agricultural Impacts

 

Texas Crop Condition and Progress Report
audio clip of report

U.S. Agriculture in Drought

 


Precipitation Totals

 

April rainfall totals were well above normal across nearly all of North and Central Texas.  Although year-to-date totals through the first 4 months of 2016 are generally above normal, long term deficits persist.  While the short term rainfall has turned the region green, these multi-year deficits continue to manifest themselves in low lake levels and in the deep soil moisture needed to recharge the region's aquifers.

 

 

Airport Sites

  April 2015 Year-to-Date
(January - April 2015)
October 2010 - April 2015
  observed
amount
departure
from normal
observed
amount
departure
from normal
departure
from normal
percent
of normal
DFW Airport 5.56 +2.49 14.67 +3.32 -38.15 77
Waco 4.49 +1.80 12.07 +1.48 -15.99 90
Dallas Love Field 5.74 +2.67 16.91 +5.70 -33.90 80
Fort Worth Meacham 6.81 +3.89 15.35 +4.56 -43.06 74
Dallas Executive 4.51 +1.11 15.59 +3.17 -50.24 73
Fort Worth Alliance 8.12 +5.06 16.09 +5.31 -42.09 75
Arlington 5.36 +2.20 14.29 +2.75 -44.38 75
Denton 5.98 +2.77 14.42 +2.90 -48.18 72
McKinney 7.50 +4.08 18.00 +5.58 -49.36 73
Terrell 6.58 +3.37 17.64 +4.68 -44.67 76
Corsicana 6.98 +4.04 16.36 +3.56 -28.92 84
Mineral Wells 5.43 +3.05 13.09 +3.93 -33.36 77

 

Cooperative Observers

  April 2015 Year-to-Date
(January - April 2015)
October 2010 - April 2015
  observed
amount
departure
from normal
observed
amount
departure
from normal
departure
from normal
percent
of normal
Alvarado 5.79 +2.92 13.94 +2.35 -43.14 75
Alvord 4.68 +1.63 14.10 +3.93 -39.24 76
Antelope 2.87 +0.08 9.98 +1.12 not available
Aquilla 5.01 +2.17 14.76 +3.70 -21.83 87
Arlington 5.40 +2.39 17.13 +5.26 not available
Athens 9.48 +6.27 26.43 +12.33 -18.13 91
Bardwell Dam 7.04 +4.12 18.85 +6.57 -27.99 84
Benbrook Dam 4.48 +1.62 13.03 +2.52 -41.50 74
Bonham 5.94 +2.07 15.67 +1.14 not available
Bonita 7.10 +3.71 15.72 +5.18 -33.25 80
Breckenridge 3.11 +0.99 8.88 +0.85 -34.90 64
Bridgeport 2.38 -0.50 9.11 -0.79 -39.65 75
Burleson 5.51 +2.72 15.58 +4.45 -40.99 76
Centerville 6.56 +3.83 23.59 +10.43 -18.28 91
Cleburne 10.55 +7.64 19.51 +8.13 -39.05 77
Cooper 6.02 +2.61 21.56 +7.17 -27.22 87
Corsicana 8.75 +5.73 21.21 +8.25 -6.57 96
Cranfills Gap 4.82 +2.37 14.87 +5.34 -35.93 76
Crawford 3.68 +1.02 11.63 +1.47 -29.96 81
Cresson 5.95 +3.24 13.86 +3.38 -29.53 82
  April 2015 Year-to-Date
(January - April 2015)
October 2010 - April 2015
  observed
amount
departure
from normal
observed
amount
departure
from normal
departure
from normal
percent
of normal
Decatur 6.53 +3.31 15.00 +3.72 -39.57 78
Denton 10.49 +7.24 19.69 +8.34 -35.38 80
Ferris 7.11 +4.05 19.27 +6.35 -40.33 78
Forestburg 6.29 +3.32 15.96 +5.82 not available
Fort Worth NWS 5.77 +2.68 15.16 +3.89 -47.20 73
Frisco 8.97 +5.53 21.42 +8.70 -35.85 81
Gainesville 11.05 +7.18 21.74 +9.58 -28.53 85
Goldthwaite 2.51 +0.36 9.24 +0.75 -32.67 76
Grapevine Dam 6.86 +3.70 16.20 +4.39 -34.66 80
Greenville 7.83 +4.35 19.99 +6.10 -37.99 82
Hillsboro 4.53 +1.58 15.33 +3.29 -41.79 76
Itasca 7.33 +4.55 18.07 +5.78 -40.24 78
Jacksboro 3.36 +0.69 10.43 +1.44 -35.28 76
Joe Pool Lake 4.57 +1.16 16.70 +4.30 -47.33 75
Justin 8.70 +5.06 17.93 +5.88 -39.32 78
Lake Bridgeport 4.26 +1.39 12.44 +2.28 -40.59 75
Lake Tawakoni 9.03 +6.03 24.57 +10.40 -38.59 81
Lavon Dam 6.41 +2.97 16.85 +4.32 -40.62 78
Lewisville Dam 8.52 +5.08 14.63 +2.64 not available
Marlin 5.95 +3.23 16.07 +4.42 -24.87 86
  April 2015 Year-to-Date
(January - April 2015)
October 2010 - April 2015
  observed
amount
departure
from normal
observed
amount
departure
from normal
departure
from normal
percent
of normal
Maypearl 7.39 +4.00 16.19 +3.25 -39.11 78
Midlothian 12.08 +8.82 21.89 +10.12 -42.46 77
Morgan 4.33 +1.63 14.83 +3.27 not available
Muenster 8.95 +5.62 18.82 +7.67 -24.57 86
Navarro Mills Dam 4.70 +1.83 15.56 +3.58 -21.68 88
Palestine 7.44 +4.15 21.33 +6.59 not available
Paris 5.64 +2.23 18.15 +4.32 -41.63 81
Proctor Dam 3.77 +1.35 9.70 +0.97 -26.52 82
Roanoke 9.36 +5.89 22.59 +10.66 -40.51 78
Rosser 7.84 +4.78 19.77 +7.14 -24.03 87
Sherman 7.89 +4.34 14.42 +1.54 -45.96 77
Stephenville 7.29 +4.77 14.53 +5.45 -14.73 90
Stillhouse Hollow 2.06 -0.53 9.97 -0.53 -40.75 76
Sulphur Springs 7.63 +3.80 21.60 +6.63 not available
Terrell 5.91 +2.89 16.51 +3.90 -40.91 79
Thornton 9.05 +6.21 21.96 +9.95 -9.27 95
Waco Dam 5.52 +2.95 14.35 +3.15 -22.24 86
Weatherford 4.97 +2.43 14.01 +3.81 -42.40 74
Whitney Dam 4.02 +1.21 15.44 +4.55 -26.08 84
Wills Point 7.37 +4.36 22.27 +8.20 -29.76 85
  observed
amount
departure
from normal
observed
amount
departure
from normal
departure
from normal
percent
of normal
  April 2015 Year-to-Date
(January - April 2015)
October 2010 - April 2015

 

 


Lake Levels

 

Numerous rain events have maintained adequate and even surplus topsoil moisture, enhancing the runoff into the creeks and streams that feed the major river/reservoir systems.  Lake Ray Hubbard fell to an all-time record low level in December, but after gaining more than 38 billion gallons of water in the last 3 months, it is nearly full, its highest level in 3 years.

Although most lakes east of the I-35 corridor are now full, most of the reservoirs west of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex remain very low.  Much more rainfall is needed within these lakes' watersheds to reverse several years of drought.

 

 

Lake Storage at the End of April (and Total Change in Storage During the Month)

Lake Storage at the End of April (and Total Change in Storage During the Month)

 

 

As the summer approaches, evaporation and water usage will steadily rise.  Even if warm season crops thrive from adequate rainfall, the multi-year hydrologic drought across western portions of North Texas is likely to persist this summer.

For current lake level information (including pool height, departure from conservation pool height, and percent of conservation volume), visit Water Data for Texas.

  

Water Restrictions

 

After nearly 5 years of significant water restrictions, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) began allowing twice-per-week watering on May 1.  Sprinklers and other irrigation systems are still be prohibited between 10 am and 6 pm (April 1 to October 31).  The NTMWD serves 1.6 million customers east and northeast of the city of Dallas.

In April 2014, the Fort Worth City Council made permanent its twice-per-week limit on landscape watering.  Only hand watering is allowed between 10 am and 6 pm.  Arlington, also within the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) service area, has similar restrictions but is not ready to make them permanent.  Dallas has made permanent its twice-per-week limit, but the restriction on daytime watering is limited to the warm season (April 1 to October 31).  Since water restrictions vary considerably throughout the Metroplex, residents should keep informed with the current guidelines from their municipality or water utility provider.

Voluntary conservation continues for both Waco and Temple/Killeen.  However, water restrictions remain in effect for some communities within McLennan County and Bell County.

The Brazos River Authority (BRA) projects the Stage 2 drought warning within much of the Upper Brazos Basin (Possum Kingdom, Granbury, and Whitney) will come to an end by June 30.  However, Proctor Lake, which is currently only one third full and in Stage 4 pro-rata curtailment, will likely be much slower to improve.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) maintains a list of water restrictions across the state.

 


Outlooks

  

Throughout the Lone Star State, above normal rainfall is more likely than below normal rainfall during the month of May, which is climatologically the wettest month of the year in this region.  Across western portions of North Texas, where exceptional drought (D4) persists, well above normal rainfall this month is twice as likely as well below normal rainfall.

 

 


Precipitation Outlook for May

Precipitation Outlook for May

 

 

Summer Precipitation Outlooks

Precipitation Outlooks for Summer and Early Fall

  

 

The outlooks for the summer months are less conclusive at this time, but with El Niño conditions expected to strengthen this year, projections for above normal rainfall return this fall and continue into 2016.  Hydrologic issues will continue this summer, but the tide may be finally turning on our multi-year drought.

 

These outlooks present the likelihood of receiving a precipitation total that differs significantly from normal.  Green areas denote parts of the country with an increased chance of being in the wettest tercile, or the wettest third of historical data.  Similarly, brown areas denote parts of the country that are projected to have an elevated chance of being in the driest tercile.  Where neither color is shaded, there is no strong signal to determine an accentuated chance of being in either the driest or wettest tercile.  This does not mean that near normal precipitation is expected, but simply that the period is just as likely to be in the wettest tercile as it is to be in the driest tercile.

 

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook suggests additional improvement could occur in portions of North and Central Texas with above normal rainfall expected to continue during the month of May.  However, the extensive hydrologic drought across western portions of North Texas is expected to persist into the upcoming summer.

 

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

 


 Drought Links

 

 National Integrated Drought Information System

 National Drought Mitigation Center

  Drought Impact Reporter

  Precipitation Estimates

 

 

 


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