Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Midland/Odessa, TX

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FGUS74 KMAF 021607

100 PM CST THU MAR 2 2017



The spring flood potential for the WFO Midland/Odessa, Texas
drainage area covering portions of West Texas and Southeast New
Mexico that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, is near to below average
based upon current antecedent conditions.  For the southern Rocky
Mountains, which includes the San Juans and Sangre de Cristos, that
drain into the upper Rio Grande and Pecos River basins, spring
flooding driven by snowmelt runoff is not expected based on the
current snowpack conditions.

This outlook considers antecedent rainfall, snowpack, soil moisture,
current streamflow, and water supply conditions compared to
climatology combined with longer-term 90-day climate outlook
forecasts for temperatures and precipitation across the forecast

The primary factor in development of significant river flooding over
most of the region is the occurrence of excessive rainfall in
relatively short periods of time, even for areas where drought
conditions persist or have developed.  In addition, the mountainous
areas in the northwest portions of the forecast area can be affected
by snowmelt occurring from as early as the mid-March through April
time frame.  These mountainous areas of southern Colorado and
northern New Mexico can accumulate a significant winter snowpack.
The most significant factors for spring flooding in mountainous
terrain are the amount of water in the snowpack and the timing of
the melt, which could be combined with periods of heavy rainfall
runoff. However, normal weather regimes producing rapid snowmelt
and/or heavy rain-on-snow events, statistically have a low
probability of occurrence in this area even during El Nino-driven
weather patterns.

While above average snowpack is currently observed and forecast
within the southern Colorado and northern New Mexico mountains, the
watersheds on the leeward side of these mountains which drain into
the upper Rio grande system currently have average to below average
snow water equivalent totals.

The general outlook for specific basin areas in the region follow:

...Upper Rio Grande and Pecos River basin, Colorado and New Mexico...

The information below reflects conditions through the end of
February.  Conditions across the area have shown an improvement
compared to the same period last year.  However, the 90-day climate
outlook indicate a trend toward drier, warmer conditions which may
accelerate meltout this season with earlier than normal peak flows.

Regionally, snowpack snow water equivalent conditions within the
upper Rio Grande and Pecos River basins in Colorado and New Mexico
are tracking above average.  However, a closer look at snow water
equivalent conditions shows that leeward side watersheds are
averaging near or a few percentage points below the seasonal 30-year

These snowpack conditions were supported with a regular pattern of
storm systems over the past few months.  Focusing in the leeward
watersheds draining into the upper Rio Grande, precipitation
received for the water-year-to-date is below normal, even with the
exception of late month storm tracks dropping significant snow
amounts in January and early February.  For points near Albuquerque
and south to Elephant Butte Reservoir, precipitation has been well
above average as winter storms favored western, central and points
south of Albuquerque.  Much of the precipitation has fallen as rain
rather than snow at lower elevations this year.

Current observed basin streamflows along the mainstem and
tributaries without ice impairment are near or below normal.
Reservoir conditions are below normal in New Mexico.  Elephant Butte
Reservoir is at 15% of storage capacity, down from 18% a year ago.
WFO Midland/Odessa, Texas has three reservoirs in the Pecos River
basin.  Brantley Reservoir, north of Carlsbad, New Mexico, is at 84%
storage capacity.  Avalon Reservoir, between Brantley and Carlsbad,
is at 70% capacity.  Just south of the New Mexico border, Red Bluff
Reservoir is at 88.3% capacity.

Historically, mountainous snowpack, particularly in the higher
elevations, increases into April with additional storms, but recent
trends indicate the timing of peak accumulations and melt-out are
occurring up to 2 to 4 weeks earlier.  However, any enhanced
precipitation and cooler temperatures through March can help provide
protection despite possible dust-on-snow and wind events that can
greatly reduce the snowpack.

Based on current snowpack conditions, near average streamflow is
expected this spring and throughout the seasonal runoff period.  The
potential for significant flooding from springtime snowmelt in the
upper Rio Grande and Pecos River basins remains low for the mainstem
and associated tributaries.  However, localized, minor, diurnal
flooding will be possible.

The Climate Prediction Center extended 90-day climate outlooks
indicate greater chances for above normal temperatures and below
average precipitation.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has no drought conditions currently
designated for the upper Rio Grande and Pecos River basins in
Colorado and New Mexico, which is considerable improvement from the
moderate to severe conditions a year ago.  And the U.S. Seasonal
Drought Outlook indicates no expected development of drought
conditions across these areas in the next 90 days.

...Upper Colorado River basin and Rio Grande of West Texas

The potential for significant spring flooding over these basin areas
in Texas is near average at this time.

In the past 60 days, these basins have received near average
rainfall ranging from 5-15% of normal in the Big Bend/Rio Grande
region to over 100% of normal in the upper Colorado River basin.
Current basin streamflows are near average seasonal baseflow based
on the latest USGS streamflow index.  Reservoir storage in the upper
Colorado River basin is low.  Champion Creek Reservoir was lowest,
at 37.9% storage capacity.  Lake Colorado City was at 47.3%
capacity, Lake J.B. Thomas at 63.1% capacity, and Moss Creek Lake at
78% capacity.  The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates no current drought
conditions due in part to timely widespread rainfalls during the
past 90 days.

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for the next 90 days no drought
conditions are expected to develop in West Texas and Southeast New
Mexico.  Extended 90-day climate outlooks indicate a 33 to nearly 50
percent chance of below average precipitation.  There is a greater
than 50 percent chance of above average temperatures.  The potential
for spring flooding is expected to be near or slightly below average
over the next 90 days.


Precipitation Analysis:

Snowpack Conditions:

Streamflow Conditions:

Reservoir Summaries:

Soil Moisture Conditions:
http:// www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Soilmst_Monitoring/US/Soilmst/Soilmst.shtml

U.S. Drought Monitor and Outlook:

TX Drought Information:

Climate Graphics:
http:// www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/lead01/off01_temp.gif


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  • Page last modified: 30-Sep-2016 6:36 PM UTC
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