DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT...UPDATE COUNTY BURN BANS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
232 PM CST THU DEC 23 2010


                 ...DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT...

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

      ...SLIGHTLY HIGHER RAIN CHANCES POSSIBLE CHRISTMAS EVE AND
                         AGAIN NEXT WEEK...

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.
RAINFALL FOR DECEMBER 2010 IS 2.00 TO 2.50 INCHES BELOW NORMAL THUS
FAR AND ANNUAL RAINFALL DEFICITS RANGE FROM 10 TO 20 INCHES BELOW
NORMAL.

AS OF DECEMBER 23RD 2010...THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS MUCH OF
THE NORTHERN PORTION OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS AND A PORTION OF THE TRINITY
RIVER BASIN IN EXTREME DROUGHT OR D-3. THIS AREA OF EXTREME DROUGHT
HAS EXPANDED AND NOW COVERS AN AREA NORTH OF A LINE FROM BRENHAM TO
HUNTSVILLE AND EAST OF A HUNTSVILLE TO LIBERTY LINE. 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         WALLER
   WALKER
   WASHINGTON
   SAN JACINTO
   POLK
   LIBERTY
   MONTGOMERY

                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    -2.58#

SUM      13.27           47.01            39.73#

NORMAL                   47.84            46.78#   (47.84)

DEP      +0.89           -0.83            -7.05#   (-8.11)

# THROUGH DECEMBER 22...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 6.99 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    -2.41#

SUM       8.45           52.65            41.45#

NORMAL                   53.96            51.54#   (53.96)

DEP      -5.13           -1.31           -11.41#   (-12.51)

# THROUGH DECEMBER 23...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 17.85 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    -2.24#

SUM       3.88           38.98            26.97#

NORMAL                   39.67            38.14#   (39.67)

DEP      -6.75           -0.69           -11.71#  (-12.70)

# THROUGH DECEMBER 23...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 19.15 INCHES
SINCE OCTOBER 1 2008 WITH OVER 40 PERCENT OF THIS DEFICIT 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    -2.11#

ANNUAL    6.56           37.16            31.34#

NORMAL                   43.84            42.21#   (43.84)

DEP      -4.10           -6.68           -11.41#   (-12.51)

MONTHS ABOVE NORMAL =  8
MONTHS BELOW NORMAL = 19

SINCE OCTOBER 1 2008 GALVESTON IS 22.19 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 22...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 25 PERCENT EAST OF BRYAN TO
FREEPORT AND LESS THAN 10 PERCENT EAST OF MADISONVILLE TO LIBERTY
LINE. 1000 HOUR FUEL MOISTURE WAS LESS THAN 25 PERCENT NORTH AND
WEST OF CALDWELL TO HUNTSVILLE TO CROCKETT LINE AND LESS THAN 50
PERCENT ACROSS THE REMAINDER OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS. THE MOISTURE CONTENT
IN 1000 HOUR DEAD FUEL WAS LESS THAN 18 PERCENT WEST OF A APPLE
SPRINGS TO CONROE TO PALACIOS 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 (12/23/2010):

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

    MADISON     AUSTIN        BRAZORIA      CHAMBERS     GALVESTON
                BRAZOS        COLORADO      MATAGORDA
                BURLESON      FORT BEND
                GRIMES        HARRIS
                HOUSTON       JACKSON
                POLK          LIBERTY
                SAN JACINTO   MONTGOMERY
                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 23 2010...(HTTP://TFSFRP.TAMU.EDU/WILDFIRES/DECBAN.PNG)...A
BURN BAN IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES:

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

IF CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS WITH FIREWORKS PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION.

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                     91.2 PERCENT
HOUSTON COUNTY LAKE             89.4 PERCENT
LAKE HOUSTON                    98.1 PERCENT
LAKE SOMERVILLE                 85.6 PERCENT
LAKE TEXANA                     82.8 PERCENT

WATER RESTRICTIONS...NONE AT THIS TIME.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...
A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL APPROACH SOUTHEAST TEXAS ON CHRISTMAS EVE.
THIS FEATURE WILL TRIGGER SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS SHOWERS LATE
CHRISTMAS EVE AND EARLY CHRISTMAS MORNING. ALTHOUGH RAINFALL AMOUNTS
WILL BE LIGHT...AVERAGING BETWEEN A HALF INCH AND AN INCH...ANY
RAINFALL WILL BE HELPFUL. TEMPERATURES WILL FALL WELL BELOW NORMAL
IN THE WAKE OF THE FRONT. NEXT WEEK ANOTHER POTENT STORM SYSTEM WILL
DEVELOP AND MOVE ACROSS TEXAS. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE STILL MODEL
DIFFERENCES REGARDING THE INTENSITY AND TIMING OF THIS SYSTEM...THE
CONSENSUS IS GROWING THAT A MODERATE RAINFALL EVENT IS POSSIBLE NEXT
WEDNESDAY.

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 30TH.

$$

CR

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