Thursday, April 23, 2009

Critical Drought Remains, but hopeful forecast issued

Current Conditions: Critical Stage
Barton Springs: 19.5 cfs (10-day average)
Lovelady Well: 195.1 ft

Despite the above-average rainfall for March, and the near-average rainfall for April, the area remains in a critical (hydrologic) drought with both indicators below their respective critical threshold.

The US Drought Monitor still shows much of the area under "exceptional" drought conditions.

The USGS map of streams below shows areas of below normal 7-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of year. The shaded areas represent "moderate hydrologic drought." Note much of Travis and part of Hays Counties are shaded.

However, there is a glimmer of hope in the forecast by the US Seasonal Outlook through July 2009. The outlook describes "drought likely to improve, impacts to east." NOAA describes a shift from La Nina conditions (which usually means less rainfall in Texas) to more "ENSO-neutral" conditions in April. This could mean a shift back to more average rainfall conditions in May. This would be good news since May is our wettest month of the year.