DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
845 AM CST SAT DEC 18 2010


                 ...DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT...

         ...EXTREME DROUGHT AREA OVER SOUTHEAST TEXAS EXPANDS...

              ...DECEMBER TO REMAIN DRY WITH DROUGHT
                    CONDITIONS INTENSIFYING...

SYNOPSIS...
A STRONG LA NINA PHASE WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE WINTER. THIS TYPE OF
WEATHER PATTERN USUALLY BRINGS SLIGHTLY WARMER TEMPERATURES AND A
CONSIDERABLY DRIER AIR MASS TO SOUTHEAST TEXAS. THE STRENGTH OF THIS
LA NINA EPISODE PORTENDS A RATHER DRY WINTER FOR SOUTHEAST TEXAS. AN
UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE BROUGHT SOME MUCH NEEDED RAIN TO THE REGION
ON DECEMBER 8TH...BUT THE HEAVIEST RAIN FELL CLOSE TO THE COAST AND
NOT OVER AREAS SUFFERING FROM EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS. ONLY TRACE
AMOUNTS OF RAIN FELL OVER SOUTHEAST TEXAS DURING THE LAST SEVEN DAYS.

THIS LA NINA PHASE IS FORECAST TO BE ONE OF THE STRONGER EVENTS ON
RECORD. OTHER YEARS WITH STRONG LA NINA SIGNALS ARE 1916...1917...
1955...1975 AND 1999. BELOW ARE TABLES WITH THE RAINFALL DURING THE
WINTER MONTHS FOR THOSE LA NINA EPISODES:

                           HOUSTON

YEAR      OCT     NOV     DEC     JAN     FEB     MAR     YEAR

1916/17   1.05    2.31    3.68    1.29    1.56    0.65    35.85
1917/18   0.32    0.93    1.19    0.96    1.69    3.25    17.66#
1955/56   0.71    1.36    1.90    3.19    1.80    1.23    41.08
1975/76   5.62    2.08    3.61    1.39    0.38    1.53    50.97
1999/00   0.56    1.53    2.20    1.25    2.32    1.35    28.04

NORMAL    4.50    4.19    3.69    3.68    2.98    3.36

                            GALVESTON

YEAR      OCT     NOV     DEC     JAN     FEB     MAR     YEAR

1916/17   0.99    2.16    0.79    2.21    2.51    0.91    30.86
1917/18   1.49    0.97    1.00    0.54    1.11    1.65    21.43*
1955/56   2.68    0.51    2.41    2.44    1.87    1.14    34.09
1975/76   4.83    4.56    3.96    3.41    1.07    1.39    42.06
1999/00   3.00    1.59    5.81    1.74    1.71    1.92    33.61

NORMAL    3.49    3.64    3.53    4.08    2.61    2.76

                           COLLEGE STATION

YEAR      OCT     NOV     DEC     JAN     FEB     MAR     YEAR

1916/17   1.55    1.91    0.49    1.90    2.37    0.55    28.83
1917/18   0.22    0.93    0.24    1.87    4.51    0.50    16.66#
1955/56   0.37    0.85    1.53    3.15    3.37    1.34    25.08
1975/76   3.88    1.01    1.11    1.18    1.17    3.66    38.00
1999/00   1.58    1.09    1.54    3.14    0.91    2.57    24.62

NORMAL    4.22    3.18    3.23    3.32    2.38    2.84

# DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD
* 2ND DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD
  YEARLY RAINFALL TOTALS FROM 1916...1917...1955...1975 AND 1999

AS OF DECEMBER 16TH 2010...THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS MUCH OF
THE NORTHERN PORTION OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS IN EXTREME DROUGHT OR D-3.
THIS ARE OF EXTREME DROUGHT HAS EXPANDED AND NOW COVERS AN AREA FROM
BRENHAM TO CROCKETT. MODERATE TO SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS COVER THE
REST OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS EXCLUDING THE COASTAL COUNTIES FROM
MATAGORDA TO LEAGUE CITY. BELOW IS A LIST OF COUNTIES AND THEIR
RESPECTIVE CLASSIFICATION AS DESIGNATED BY THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR:

   EXTREME D-3      SEVERE D-2      MODERATE D-1     ABNORMAL D-0
   DROUGHT          DROUGHT         DROUGHT             DRY

   BRAZOS          AUSTIN           BRAZORIA         GALVESTON
   BURLESON        CHAMBERS         JACKSON          MATAGORDA
   GRIMES          COLORADO         WHARTON
   HOUSTON         FORT BEND
   MADISON         HARRIS
   TRINITY         LIBERTY
   WALKER          MONTGOMERY
   WASHINGTON      POLK
                   SAN JACINTO
                   WALLER

                U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR CLASSIFICATIONS


BELOW IS A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH DROUGHT CLASSIFICATION:

D4 EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT - EXCEPTIONAL OR WIDESPREAD CROP/PASTURE LOSS
   A SHORTAGE OF WATER IN RESERVOIRS AND STREAMS CREATING
   A WATER EMERGENCY.

D3 EXTREME DROUGHT - MAJOR CROP OR PASTURE LOSSES. WIDESPREAD WATER
   SHORTAGES AND RESTRICTIONS.

D2 SEVERE DROUGHT - CROP OR PASTURE LOSSES LIKELY. SOME WATER
   SHORTAGES COMMON AND SOME WATER RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED.

D1 MODERATE DROUGHT - SOME DAMAGE TO CROPS AND PASTURES. RESERVOIRS
   OR WELLS LOW. VOLUNTARY WATER RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED.

D0 ABNORMALLY DRY - SHORT TERM DRYNESS. PLANT GROWTH SLOWS. MINOR
   WATER DEFICITS.


FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION...SEE EITHER (ALL LINKS IN LOWER CASE)
HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.UNL.EDU/DM/DM_STATE.HTM?TX.S OR FOR THE ENTIRE
COUNTRY SEE...HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.UNL.EDU/DM/MONITOR.HTML.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...
IT IS NO SECRET THAT CONDITIONS ACROSS SOUTHEAST TEXAS HAVE BEEN
DRY. THIS RECENT DRY PERIOD HAS INTENSIFIED OVER THE LAST THREE TO
FOUR MONTHS BUT THE DRY PERIOD ACTUALLY STARTED MUCH EARLIER. IT HAS
BEEN UNSEASONABLY DRY SINCE HURRICANE IKE (SEP 2008). ALTHOUGH THERE
HAVE BEEN A FEW HEAVY RAIN EPISODES OVER THE LAST 27 MONTHS...THE
OVERALL TREND HAS BEEN FOR DRIER WEATHER. BELOW IS A TABLE WITH THE
FOUR PRIMARY CLIMATE SITES ACROSS SOUTHEAST TEXAS WITH MONTHLY
RAINFALL...DEPARTURES FROM NORMAL AND THE TOTAL RAINFALL DEFICIT
SINCE OCTOBER 2008:

                 HOUSTON INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT

          2008    DEP     2009     DEP     2010    DEP

JAN       NA      NA      0.49     -3.19   2.53    -1.15
FEB       NA      NA      1.52     -1.46   3.55    +0.57
MAR       NA      NA      4.08     +0.72   1.88    -1.48
APR       NA      NA     10.38     +6.78   2.81    -0.79
MAY       NA      NA      0.38     -4.77   3.68    -1.47
JUN       NA      NA      0.27     -5.08   3.75    -1.60
JUL       NA      NA      2.84     -0.34  12.92    +9.74
AUG       NA      NA      2.11     -1.72   1.02    -2.81
SEP       IKE     IKE     4.68     +0.35   4.81    +0.48
OCT       8.67    +4.17  13.16     +8.66   0.02    -4.48
NOV       2.92    -1.27   1.66     -2.53   2.71    -1.48
DEC       1.68    -2.01   5.44     +1.75   0.05    -2.01#

SUM      13.27           47.01            39.73#

NORMAL                   47.84            46.21#   (47.84)

DEP      +0.89           -0.83            -6.48#   (-8.11)

# THROUGH DECEMBER 17...VALUE IN PARENTHESIS REPRESENTS TOTALS
THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR ASSUMING NO ADDITIONAL RAINFALL.

MONTHS ABOVE NORMAL =  9
MONTHS BELOW NORMAL = 18

OVER THE LAST 27 MONTHS...BY A 2 TO 1 RATIO...MONTHLY RAINFALL HAS
BEEN LESS THAN NORMAL. THE 27 MONTH DEPARTURE HAS BEEN SKEWED
BY THE HEAVY RAINFALL EVENTS IN APRIL 2009...OCTOBER 2009 AND JULY
2010.

HOUSTON INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT HAS FARED BETTER THAN MOST
LOCATIONS IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS. WHILE MOST COMMUNITIES HAVE SUFFERED
12 TO 22 INCH RAINFALL DEFICITS SINCE 2008...HOUSTON IAH HAS ONLY
ENDURED A RAINFALL DEFICIT OF 6.54 INCHES SINCE OCTOBER 1 2008.

                        HOUSTON HOBBY AIRPORT

          2008    DEP     2009     DEP     2010    DEP

JAN       NA      NA      0.37     -3.88   2.30    -1.95
FEB       NA      NA      1.18     -1.83   3.38    +0.37
MAR       NA      NA      2.52     -0.67   2.04    -1.15
APR       NA      NA     15.61    +12.15   1.06    -2.40
MAY       NA      NA      0.66     -4.45   1.71    -3.40
JUN       NA      NA      1.39     -5.45   5.06    -1.78
JUL       NA      NA      3.62     -0.74  12.77    +8.41
AUG       NA      NA      1.63     -2.91   1.40    -3.14
SEP       IKE     IKE     5.31     -0.31   6.63    +1.01
OCT       2.62    -2.64  11.52     +6.26   0.07    -5.19
NOV       4.97    +0.43   1.88     -2.66   4.76    +0.22
DEC       0.86    -2.92   6.96     +3.18   0.27    -1.81#

SUM       8.45           52.65            41.45#

NORMAL                   53.96            51.54#   (53.96)

DEP      -5.13           -1.31           -10.81#   (-12.51)

# THROUGH DECEMBER 17...VALUE IN PARENTHESIS REPRESENTS TOTALS
THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR ASSUMING NO ADDITIONAL RAINFALL.

MONTHS ABOVE NORMAL =  8
MONTHS BELOW NORMAL = 19

HOBBY AIRPORT ON HOUSTON`S SOUTHEAST SIDE HAS SUFFERED A RAINFALL
DEFICIT OF 17.25 INCHES SINCE OCTOBER 1 2008 WITH ABOUT A THIRD OF
THIS DEFICIT OCCURRING IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS.

                COLLEGE STATION EASTERWOOD FIELD

          2008    DEP     2009     DEP     2010    DEP

JAN       NA      NA      0.70     -2.62   2.93    -0.39
FEB       NA      NA      0.68     -1.70   2.77    +0.39
MAR       NA      NA      5.07     +2.23   2.62    -0.22
APR       NA      NA      6.11     +2.91   1.11    -2.09
MAY       NA      NA      1.41     -3.64   2.00    -3.05
JUN       NA      NA     TRACE     -3.79   7.31    +3.52
JUL       NA      NA      2.42     +0.50   1.23    -0.69
AUG       NA      NA      0.69     -1.94   0.34    -2.29
SEP       IKE     IKE     7.42     +3.51   5.86    +1.85
OCT       1.73    -2.49   8.25     +4.03  TRACE    -4.42
NOV       1.35    -1.83   3.42     +0.24   0.90    -2.28
DEC       0.80    -2.43   2.81     -0.42  TRACE    -1.70#

SUM       3.88           38.98            26.97#

NORMAL                   39.67            38.14#   (39.67)

DEP      -6.75           -0.69           -11.17#  (-12.70)

# THROUGH DECEMBER 17...VALUE IN PARENTHESIS REPRESENTS TOTALS
THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR ASSUMING NO ADDITIONAL RAINFALL.

MONTHS ABOVE NORMAL =  9
MONTHS BELOW NORMAL = 18

COLLEGE STATION HAS SUFFERED A RAINFALL DEFICIT OF 18.61 INCHES
SINCE OCTOBER 1 2008 WITH OVER 40 PERCENT OF THIS TOTAL OCCURRING IN
THE LAST THREE MONTHS.

COLLEGE STATION IS NO STRANGER TO HAVING MONTHS WITHOUT RAIN OR
RECEIVING JUST A TRACE OF RAIN. ALTHOUGH UNCOMMON IT IS NOT
UNPRECEDENTED. HERE ARE THE MONTHS WHEN COLLEGE STATION DID NOT
RECEIVE MEASURABLE RAIN:

                   0.00   AUG 1902     TRACE  AUG 1952
                   0.00   OCT 1952     TRACE  JUL 1993
                                       TRACE  JUN 1998
                                       TRACE  JUL 2000
                                       TRACE  SEP 2005
                                       TRACE  JUN 2009
                                       TRACE  OCT 2010

                      GALVESTON SCHOLES FIELD

          2008    DEP     2009     DEP     2010    DEP

JAN       NA      NA      0.34     -3.74   2.27    -1.81
FEB       NA      NA      1.05     -1.56   3.47    +0.86
MAR       NA      NA      3.73     +0.97   1.41    -1.35
APR       NA      NA      5.23     +2.67   0.94    -1.62
MAY       NA      NA      0.19     -3.51   3.66    -0.04
JUN       NA      NA      0.32     -3.72   2.37    -1.67
JUL       NA      NA      2.72     -0.73   4.76    +1.31
AUG       NA      NA      1.08     -3.14   0.52    -3.70
SEP       IKE     IKE     5.24     -0.52   4.60    -1.16
OCT       1.37    -2.12   6.76     +3.27   0.11    -3.38
NOV       3.37    -0.27   3.97     +0.33   6.90    +3.26
DEC       1.82    -1.71   6.53     +3.00   0.34    -1.56#

ANNUAL    6.56           37.16            31.34#

NORMAL                   43.84            42.21#   (43.84)

DEP      -4.10           -6.68           -10.86#   (-12.51)

MONTHS ABOVE NORMAL =  8
MONTHS BELOW NORMAL = 19

SINCE OCTOBER 1 2008 GALVESTON IS 21.64 INCHES OF RAIN BELOW NORMAL.
YET GALVESTON COUNTY IS ONLY CLASSIFIED AS ABNORMALLY DRY ON THE
U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR. THE REASON FOR THIS IS THAT INLAND PORTIONS OF
GALVESTON COUNTY RECEIVED PLENTY OF RAIN IN BOTH 2009 AND 2010. AT
THE NWS OFFICE IN LEAGUE CITY...RAINFALL IN 2009 WAS 56.08 INCHES...
ALMOST 20 INCHES HIGHER THAN SCHOLES FIELD. IN 2010...LEAGUE CITY
RECORDED 50.33 INCHES THROUGH DECEMBER 11...AND THAT IS ABOUT 19
INCHES HIGHER THAN RAINFALL RECORDED ON THE ISLAND.


SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS...

DRY CONDITIONS PERSISTED. PONDS AND CREEKS WERE LOW AND SOIL
MOISTURE LEVELS WERE BECOMING CRITICAL. WINTER PASTURES WERE
STRESSED. WINTER WHEAT AND OTHER SMALL GRAINS MADE LITTLE PROGRESS
DUE TO THE LACK OF RAIN. PRODUCERS BEGUN APPLYING FERTILIZER TO
FIELDS FOR SPRING CROPS. PRODUCERS INCREASED RATIONS OF HAY AND
PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS FOR CATTLE. LIVESTOCK REMAINED IN FAIR TO GOOD
CONDITION.

FOR MORE INFORMATION...SEE HTTP://AGNEWS.TAMU.EDU (ALL LOWER CASE).

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS...

100 HOUR FUEL MOISTURE WAS LESS THAN 10 PERCENT OVER MOST OF
SOUTHEAST TEXAS WHILE 1000 HOUR FUEL MOISTURE WAS LESS THAN 50
PERCENT WEST OF A CROCKETT TO ANAHUAC LINE. THE MOISTURE
CONTENT IN 1000 HOUR DEAD FUEL WAS LESS THAN 18 PERCENT WEST OF A
CROCKETT TO EDNA LINE AND LESS THAN 20 PERCENT OVER THE REMAINDER OF
SOUTHEAST TEXAS. THE DAILY FIRE MAP AND FIVE DAY AVERAGES SHOW
MODERATE RISK IN PLACE.

KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDICES ARE HIGH OVER MUCH OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS.
VALUES BETWEEN 700 AND 800 ARE CRITICAL AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. THE
VALUES LISTED BELOW ARE EXPECTED TO WORSEN (INCREASE) OVER THE NEXT
14 DAYS. BELOW IS A TABLE WITH KBDI VALUES (12/17/2010):

    700-800     600-700       500-600       400-500      200-300

    MADISON     AUSTIN        BRAZORIA      CHAMBERS     GALVESTON
                BRAZOS        COLORADO      HARRIS
                BURLESON      FORT BEND     JACKSON
                GRIMES        LIBERTY       MATAGORDA
                HOUSTON       MONTGOMERY
                POLK          SAN JACINTO
                TRINITY       WHARTON
                WALKER
                WALLER
                WASHINGTON


(SEE THE LINK...ALL LOWER CASE HTTP://WEBGIS.TAMU.EDU/TFS/
KBDI_DAILY/ KBDICOUNTY.PNG).

RESTRICTIONS/ACTIONS...
THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE HAS BANNED ALL FIRES IN THE
NATIONAL FORESTS LOCATED IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. OFFICIALS ARE
CAUTIONING VISITORS AND CAMPERS ABOUT THE RISK OF FIRE IN THE
ANGELINA...SABINE...DAVY CROCKETT AND SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL FORESTS.

COUNTY BURN BAN DECLARATIONS HAVE INCREASED OVER THE LAST WEEK AND
MOST OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS IS COVERED WITH SOME TYPE OF BURNING
RESTRICTION.  ACCORDING TO THE TEXAS FOREST SERVICE WEB SITE ON
DECEMBER 17 2010...(HTTP://TFSFRP.TAMU.EDU/WILDFIRES/DECBAN.PNG)...A
BURN BAN IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES:

AUSTIN...BRAZOS...BURLESON...CHAMBERS...COLORADO...FORT
BEND...GRIMES...HOUSTON...JACKSON...LIBERTY...MADISON...SAN
JACINTO...TRINITY...WALLER...WALKER...WASHINGTON AND WHARTON.

RESIDENTS SHOULD REMAIN VIGILANT WHEN DOING ANY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
WHICH INVOLVE FIRE OR SPARKS...BY MAKING SURE WATER IS QUICKLY
AVAILABLE IF AN UNWANTED FIRE OR SMOLDERING BEGIN. PARTS OF CENTRAL
AND EAST TEXAS WILL BECOME VULNERABLE TO ISOLATED WILDFIRES SO
CAMPERS...HUNTERS AND OTHER OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS SHOULD BE CAREFUL
WITH CAMP FIRES AND FIREARMS. WELDERS SHOULD ALSO EXERCISE CAUTION
WHILE PERFORMING THEIR DUTIES. FINALLY...MOTORISTS SHOULD NOT
DISCARD LIGHTED CIGARETTES FROM THEIR VEHICLES.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

RIVER LEVELS HAVE BEGUN TO FALL AS RAINFALL OVER NORTH TEXAS HAS
DECREASED. AREA RESERVOIRS HAVE ALSO BEGUN TO DROP ESPECIALLY OVER
THE WESTERN HALF OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS.

     WATERSHED                   CAPACITY

LAKE LIVINGSTON                100.0 PERCENT
LAKE CONROE                     92.2 PERCENT
HOUSTON COUNTY LAKE             89.3 PERCENT
LAKE HOUSTON                    98.1 PERCENT
LAKE SOMERVILLE                 85.8 PERCENT
LAKE TEXANA                     83.7 PERCENT

WATER RESTRICTIONS...NONE AT THIS TIME.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...
THE WEEK AHEAD LOOKS TO BE WARMER THAN NORMAL AND A BIT HUMID. THE
INCREASE IN HUMIDITY MAY LEAD TO SOME WEAK SHOWERS MID WEEK...BUT A
STRONG CAPPING INVERSION WILL LIMIT COVERAGE AND INTENSITY. THE
OVERALL POTENTIAL FOR RAIN WILL REMAIN ON THE LOW SIDE. A STRONG
COLD FRONT WILL CROSS THE REGION EARLY CHRISTMAS MORNING BRINGING AN
END TO THE WARMER TEMPERATURES AND USHERING IN DRIER CONDITIONS ON
STRONG NORTH WINDS. THE NORMAL RAINFALL FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER IS
AROUND 3.50 INCHES AND DECEMBER 2010 WILL FALL SHORT OF THIS TOTAL.
HOUSTON...COLLEGE STATION AND GALVESTON ARE EACH ON TARGET TO HAVE
ONE OF THEIR FIVE DRIEST DECEMBERS ON RECORD.

THE SEASONAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK VALID DECEMBER 17TH THROUGH MARCH SHOWS
DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSISTING OR INTENSIFYING ACROSS SOUTHEAST
TEXAS.

THE NEXT DROUGHT STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED ON THURSDAY DECEMBER 23RD.

$$

CR

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.