Although the Drought Monitor shows drought conditions abating in the Metroplex area, reservoir storage has been “quietly” declining there over the past two years. Reservoir storage presently rivals what it was in 2011 at about 70 percent full. Although rains have brought lake levels up a wee bit in recent months, so far we’ve not been getting enough to fill the lakes.
Some details from Dr. Wentzel:
· The US Drought Monitors’ latest map shows little change from the previous week. The various areas of drought categories within the state each changed less than ½ a percentage point. Extreme (D3) and Exceptional (D4) Drought were unchanged.
· In the last week, statewide conservation storage was down about 75,000 acre-feet (0.3 percentage points). We are currently about ½ a percentage point lower than we were this time last year and more than 15 percentage points below what is considered normal for this time of year.
· Looking at things by climate region, as of Thursday, Jan. 9th, conservation storage was up in 3 of the 9 climate regions with reservoirs across the state and down in 6. The largest increases, 0.2 percentage points, occurred in the Trans Pecos Region. The largest decreases (0.6 and 0.5 percentage points) occurred in the Upper Coast and North Central Regions, respectively.
· Conservation storage increased in 5 of the 20 municipal reservoir systems that we track across the state, remained unchanged in 4, and decreased in 11. The largest increase was in El Paso, up 0.4 percentage points. The largest decreases occurred in Corpus Christi and Dallas, each down a ½ percentage point. All other changes were less and a ¼ percentage point.
· The Monthly Drought Outlook from the National Weather Service for January 2014 is the same as last week. It calls for continued improvement in the Eastern and Southern parts of the state, but drought is expected to persist in other areas, with some expansion of drought in West Texas and the Panhandle.