Tuesday, March 4, 2014

January and February see below Average Rain

No Drought
Lovelady monitor well: 487 ft-msl 
Barton Springs: 56 cfs (10-day average)

The "thunder-sleet" the Austin-area received last night may have slowed morning commutes, but brought a good start to the month of March with regards to precipitation. The rain gauge at the District office has recorded 0.69 inches so far since the start of the month, while the total historic average for March is 2.2 inches. The previous two months saw precipitation well below their respective historic averages. In January the total rainfall at the District office was 0.43 inches compared its historic average of 2.0 inches, while in February 0.44 inches fell compared to 2.4 inches historic average. Area creeks, where most of the recharge to the Barton Springs Segment of the Edwards Aquifer occurs, have scarcely flowed in 2014 due to predominantly dry conditions. As a result, water levels in the aquifer and flow rate of Barton Springs have been steadily declining. The recent rains were likely not large enough in magnitude to reverse the trend of heading towards drought. It is still too early to give an accurate prediction of when the District may surpass its drought thresholds if dry conditions persist, however it could occur sometime in the Spring. Below see a hydrograph of Lovelady monitor well, one of the District's drought triggers, since the end of 2012 through the present (click to enlarge). The graph shows the District's drought thresholds. Notice the end of the last drought cycle in the fall of 2013 and the peak of aquifer water levels in January of this year. The US Seasonal Drought Outlook predicts meteorological drought in much of the state to persist or intensify. 

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