Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 4

Drought Update: Current Conditions and El Niño

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Population Affected by Drought: 9,359,146

For the past few months, drought conditions around Texas have been a mixed bag. East Texas has seen tremendous recovery, while North Central and Central Texas keep slipping back into severe and exceptional drought conditions. Most reservoirs west of I-35 are still at historic lows. Overall, the state’s current reservoirs are at 68.4 percent full, up four percent from last year.

C’mon, El Niño! Currently, the Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño advisory due to conditions in the tropical Pacific. Traditionally, El Nino brings increased moisture to Texas—a welcome relief to much of the state. The National Weather Service is predicting that there is a 50-60 percent chance for El Niño conditions to continue in the Northern Hemisphere until summer 2015. The expected presence of El Niño is causing predictions for above normal rainfall over the next three months for most of Western Texas and some of the central region, where drought is predicted to intensify or persist.

Highland Lakes
The Highland Lakes area of Central Texas is experiencing the most severe drought conditions ever—lower than the record making drought of the 1950s.  According to the Lower Colorado River Authority the Highland Lakes are in a “new critical period.” Lakes Travis and Buchanan stand at 36 and 32 percent full, respectively. 

Week

Date

None

D0-D4

D1-D4

D2-D4

D3-D4

D4

Current

2015-03-10

42.15

57.85

41.05

25.89

12.76

2.97

Last Week

2015-03-03

38.78

61.22

43.02

26.89

13.29

3.37

3 Months Ago

2014-12-09

33.63

66.37

43.39

23.32

10.05

2.57

Start of Calendar Year

2014-12-30

34.37

65.63

44.68

25.73

11.70

3.17

Start of Water Year

2014-09-30

28.92

71.08

48.95

29.54

11.26

2.69

One Year Ago

2014-03-11

15.44

84.56

62.80

34.39

11.46

1.49


 

Forecast
The state is forecasted to have drought conditions intensify or persist in the same troubled areas, the Panhandle, North Central and Central Texas. The state’s Drought Preparedness Council meets every month and the Emergency Drinking Water Task Force meets weekly to report on drought information and coordinate creative solutions in support of local entities still struggling in the grips of the state’s fifth consecutive year of drought.

US Seasonal Drought Outlook

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