Comprehensive drought update: conditions worsening

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Dry weather in October is beginning to increase drought conditions in the Hill Country

Here is a comprehensive, multi-agency drought update compiled by the National Weather Service:

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
1015 AM CDT FRI OCT 23 2020

...AFTER SEPTEMBER IMPROVEMENTS, DROUGHT EXPANDS IN OCTOBER...

SYNOPSIS...

DESPITE OCTOBER GENERALLY BEING THE THIRD WETTEST MONTH OF THE YEAR
ACROSS MUCH OF OUR REGION, LATE SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER THUS FAR HAVE
BEEN DRY TO VERY DRY AND DROUGHT HAS EXPANDED ONCE AGAIN AS A RESULT.
ALTHOUGH SEVERAL MUNICIPALITIES HAVE RETURNED TO YEAR-ROUND WATER
CONSERVATION STATUS, A QUICK-TURN AROUND BACK TO STAGE 1 IS NOT OUT
OF THE QUESTION PRIOR TO THE NEXT ISSUANCE OF THIS PRODUCT. 

THE DROUGHT MONITOR ISSUED OCTOBER 22ND SHOWS ONLY 31 PERCENT OF OUR
AREA NOT IN D0 OR WORSE DESIGNATIONS, PRIMARILY ACROSS THE AREA FROM
AUSTIN AND ITS SOUTHERN SUBURBS TO THE HILL COUNTRY OF BURNET AND
LLANO COUNTIES AND ALSO OUR COASTAL PLAINS COUNTIES ALONG AND
SOUTHEAST OF A LINE FROM ATASCOSA TO EASTERN LEE. THE MAJORITY OF THE
AREA UNDER MODERATE DROUGHT OR WORSE (35 PERCENT OF OUR CWA) IS ALONG
AND WEST OF SAN ANTONIO. SEVERE DROUGHT (D2) AND EXTREME DROUGHT (D3)
ARE CURRENTLY DEPICTED ACROSS 12 PERCENT AND 5 PERCENT OF OUR AREA,
RESPECTIVELY. THIS AREA OF SEVERE DROUGHT STRETCHED FROM MAVERICK TO
EASTERN MEDINA COUNTY. 

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

WATER RESTRICTIONS.

AUSTIN - CONSERVATION STAGE
DEL RIO - STAGE 1 
FREDERICKSBURG - STAGE 1 (VOLUNTARY)
KERRVILLE - YEAR ROUND CONSERVATION
NEW BRAUNFELS - STAGE 1 
SAN ANTONIO – YEAR ROUND CONSERVATION 
SAN MARCOS - YEAR ROUND CONSERVATION
UVALDE - STAGE 1

OTHER LOCATIONS MAY HAVE WATER CONSERVATION OR RESTRICTION RULES
SO BE SURE TO CHECK FOR YOUR LOCATION.

EDWARDS AQUIFER INFORMATION:

CURRENT LEVEL     2019 LEVEL      OCTOBER AVERAGE     DIFFERENCE 
   658.8 FT        668.9 FT          663.5 FT          -4.7 FT

AFTER RECOVERING IN SEPTEMBER, RESERVOIR LEVELS HAVE BEGUN TO 
DROP AGAIN AS A RESULT OF NO RAINFALL OVER MUCH OF THE BASIN 
OVER THE PAST 30 PLUS DAYS. SINCE OCTOBER IS NORMALLY THE THIRD 
WETTEST MONTH OF THE YEAR, THIS LED TO A LARGE SWING FROM 2.5 
FEET ABOVE NORMAL RESERVOIR LEVELS TO NEARLY 5 FEET BELOW. 

RESERVOIR CONDITIONS AS OF OCTOBER 23, 2020...

BELOW IS A LIST OF RESERVOIRS WITH THE LATEST ELEVATIONS AND
NORMAL POOLS. 

              CONSERVATION POOL    LATEST ELEVATION    DIFFERENCE
                    (FT)                 (FT)             (FT)

LAKE AMISTAD        1117                1072.7            -44.3 
MEDINA LAKE         1064.2              1037.1            -27.1 
CANYON LAKE          909                 905.0             -4.0
LAKE BUCHANAN       1020                1014.6             -5.4 
LAKE TRAVIS          681                 660.8            -20.2

SOIL MOISTURE IMPACTS.

AS OF OCTOBER 22, 2020, THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) 
INDICATED THE PERCENT OF AVAILABLE SOIL MOISTURE HAS AGAIN 
DEGRADED ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS. THE MAJORITY OF OUR 
REGION HAS AVAILABLE SOIL MOISTURES IN THE 10TH TO 30TH 
PERCENTILES, WITH VALUES BELOW THE 10TH PERCENTILE ACROSS 
MUCH OF VAL VERDE COUNTY.  

FIRE DANGER HAZARDS.

FIRE DANGER MAP - OCTOBER 22, 2020 
ACCORDING TO THE LATEST OBSERVED FIRE DANGER MAP FROM THE TEXAS 
INTERAGENCY COORDINATION CENTER (TICC), THE ENTIRETY OF SOUTH-
CENTRAL TEXAS WAS UNDER A MODERATE FIRE DANGER RATING. THE 
NATIONAL INTERAGENCY FIRE CENTER PREDICTIVE SERVICES OUTLOOK 
ISSUED OCTOBER 1ST INDICATES THAT BY DECEMBER, OUR NORTHERN 
COUNTIES ARE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE ABOVE NORMAL POTENTIAL FOR 
SIGNIFICANT WILDLAND FIRE. 

TEXAS A&M FOREST SERVICE INDICATED KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX 
(KBDI) VALUES HAVE DEGRADED SINCE THE LAST ISSUANCE OF THIS 
PRODUCT, WITH COUNTY-WIDE AVERAGES BACK ABOVE 400 FOR OUR ENTIRE 
AREA. KBDI IS AN INDEX USED TO DETERMINE FOREST FIRE POTENTIAL, WHICH
IS BASED ON A DAILY WATER BALANCE CONSIDERING PRECIPITATION AND SOIL
MOISTURE. THE KBDI CAN RANGE FROM 0 TO 800, WHERE A VALUE OF 0
REPRESENTS NO MOISTURE DEPLETION, AND 800 WOULD BE REPRESENTATIVE OF
ABSOLUTELY DRY CONDITIONS. A KBDI BETWEEN 600 AND 800 IS OFTEN
ASSOCIATED WITH SEVERE DROUGHT AND INCREASED WILDFIRE POTENTIAL. 

COUNTY KBDI VALUES AS OF OCTOBER 22, 2020:

400-500     500-600                 600-700     700-800
BLANCO      ATASCOSA    GONZALES    BANDERA     MEDINA
BURNET      CALDWELL    KENDALL     BASTROP
HAYS        COMAL       KINNEY      BEXAR
KARNES      DEWITT      LEE         DIMMIT
LAVACA      EDWARDS     TRAVIS      FRIO
LLANO       FAYETTE     VAL VERDE   GUADALUPE
WILSON      GILLESPIE   WILLIAMSON  KERR
                                    MAVERICK
                                    REAL
                                    UVALDE
                                    ZAVALA

TEXAS A&M FOREST SERVICE MAPS INDICATED THAT BURN BANS ARE IN 
EFFECT FOR 30 COUNTIES ACROSS THE REGION. AS OF OCTOBER 21, 2020:

COUNTIES WITH BURN BANS CURRENTLY IN PLACE:
BANDERA       KINNEY
BEXAR         MAVERICK 
CALDWELL      MEDINA 
COMAL         REAL
DIMMIT        TRAVIS
EDWARDS       VAL VERDE
FRIO          ZAVALA
HAYS
GUADALUPE    
KARNES       


COUNTIES WITHOUT BURN BANS CURRENTLY IN PLACE:
ATASCOSA      KENDALL
BASTROP       KERR
BLANCO        LAVACA
BURNET        LEE
DEWITT        LLANO      
FAYETTE       UVALDE
GILLESPIE     WILLIAMSON
GONZALES      WILSON              


AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS.

THE TEXAS CROP AND WEATHER REPORT FROM TEXAS A&M AGRILIFE AS OF:
OCTOBER 14, 2020

-DRY CONDITIONS AND ABOVE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES
-PRODUCERS PREPARED FIELDS FOR SMALL GRAIN AND SPRING ROW CROPS
-LIVESTOCK CONDITIONS FAIR TO GOOD, HIGH NUMBERS MARKETED. 
SUPPLEMENTING FEED DUE TO DRY RANGELAND CONDITIONS
-CATTLE, SHEEP, AND GOAT MARKETS DOING WELL, FALL SHEARING 
CONT. SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING SLOWED IN BEXAR COUNTY (OCT. 6TH)
-WILDLIFE CONDITIONS GOOD

LOCAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK...

IN THE SHORT TERM, SOME RAINFALL CHANCES ARE FINALLY RETURNING TO 
END OCTOBER, BUT LONG-TERM EXPECTATIONS ARE FOR DRYNESS TO PREVAIL
THROUGH THE FALL AND WINTER MONTHS. 

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) 8 TO 14 DAY OUTLOOK MADE 
OCTOBER 22 AND VALID OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 5 IS CALLING FOR 
GREATER CHANCES FOR BELOW AVERAGE TEMPERATURES (33-40%) AND FOR 
BELOW AVERAGE RAINFALL (40-50%). THE WEEK 3-4 OUTLOOK CREATED OCT 16
AND VALID OCT 31-NOVEMBER 13 CONTINUES THE LIKELY DRY PATTERN
(50-55%) WHILE INDICATING GOOD CHANCES FOR WARMER THAN NORMAL
CONDITIONS TO RETURN (55-60%).

WITH LA NINA NOW EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH THE FALL AND WINTER, WE
ARE LIKELY TO SEE OVERALL WARMER, DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS
THROUGH EARLY 2021, WITH THIS SIGNAL GRADUALLY STRENGTHENING TOWARDS
THE END OF THIS YEAR. THE CPC THREE MONTH OUTLOOK FOR NOVEMBER
THROUGH JANUARY DEPICTS A 55-65% CHANCE OF ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES
FOR SOUTH-CENTRAL TEXAS, HIGHEST WEST, AND A 50-55% CHANCE OF BELOW
NORMAL PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE ENTIRETY OF TEXAS.  THUS, THERE IS A
GOOD CHANCE THAT OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS THERE WILL BE FURTHER
DETERIORATION IN DROUGHT STATUS. 

LOCAL RAINFALL FOR THE YEAR TO DATE.

                     2020      NORMAL    DEPARTURE    PERCENT OF
                    TO DATE   TO DATE   FROM NORMAL     NORMAL

AUSTIN BERGSTROM     32.45"    28.36"     +4.09"         114% 
AUSTIN MABRY         29.94"    28.02"     +1.92"         107% 
DEL RIO              11.22"    17.59"     -6.37"          64% 
SAN ANTONIO          18.24"    27.15"     -8.91"          67%

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...
THIS PRODUCT WILL BE UPDATED AROUND NOVEMBER 26, 2020 OR SOONER
IF NECESSARY IN RESPONSE TO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN CONDITIONS.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
THE DROUGHT MONITOR IS A MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT INVOLVING NOAA'S
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER,
THE USDA, STATE,AND REGIONAL CENTER CLIMATOLOGISTS AND THE
NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER. INFORMATION FOR THIS
STATEMENT HAS BEEN GATHERED FROM NWS FAA OBSERVATION SITES, STATE
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICES, THE USDA, USACE, AND USGS.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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