Friday, December 5, 2008

Shredded Wheat yard

The drought has been so severe that my yard has officially been named as the Eastern edge of the Chihuahuan desert.

I mean it looks like someone exploded several boxes of Shredded Wheat over my yard.

What? I'm just sayin'

'Exceptional' drought grips heart of Texas
By Jerry Needham - Express-News

An area centered over Hays County and reaching to Austin and New Braunfels was classified by federal weather-watchers Thursday as in “exceptional” drought — the worst category.
With a large part of South-Central Texas in extreme drought — the next-to-worst category — and little prospect for significant rainfall, forecasters say they expect to see an expansion of the areas hit with the exceptional label.

“When I saw the area that came out, I was kind of surprised that Bexar County was not included in it,” said Marianne Sutton, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's forecast office in New Braunfels. “I wouldn't be surprised if in the next couple of weeks it expands even further.”
And the outlook for rain?
“Dry,” she was quick to reply. “Rain? What is that? We are heading into the driest time of year, and it doesn't help that we're well below half of normal.”

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center is calling for below-normal rainfall for Central and South Texas through at least February.
The region joins an area in the western Carolinas and northern Georgia as the only ones suffering in the worst category of drought.

Since September 2007, San Antonio International Airport has measured 16.15 inches of rain, the least amount in any 15-month September-through-November period since rainfall record-keeping began here in 1871. That's 38 percent of normal.

Those compiling the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor look at more than just rainfall deficits, Sutton said.
Lake and river levels around Austin and New Braunfels are really low, but San Antonio's primary source of water — the Edwards Aquifer — still hasn't dropped to levels requiring user restrictions.

Seven-day streamflows across the region are averaging from 10 percent to 24 percent of normal and lake levels all are down.
“Canyon Lake is the lowest it's ever been,” said Bill West, general manager of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.
The lake, which was filled in the mid-1960s and whose normal level is 909 feet above sea level, stood Thursday at 898.5 feet or 78.8 percent of normal.

“We are, like others, talking to our commissioners courts and city councils and urging conservation,” West said. “It has the potential of getting really serious next year.”

Other area lakes and their conditions Thursday were: Medina Lake, 19.8 feet low and 59 percent of capacity; Lake Travis, 24.5 feet low and 64.5 percent of normal; Lake Buchanan, 15 feet low and 65.8 percent of normal; Lake Georgetown, 19.9 feet low and 44.5 percent of normal; and Lake Corpus Christi, 4.7 feet low and 68 percent of normal.

In contrast, the level of the Edwards Aquifer in San Antonio was 668 feet above sea level, just 1.1 feet below the historical average for December.
“The issue is we've been dry for so long that we know that once farmers start pre-irrigating their lands, that decline in aquifer levels is going to increase,” said Roland Ruiz, spokesman for the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

“We're looking ahead to the first quarter of 2009 and thinking that if we don't have any rainfall, it looks like we're headed toward mandatory cutbacks earlier than we've been accustomed to,” he said. “You usually think of water restrictions in the heat of the summer when demand is at its peak.”

The weather service's Sutton said the forecast does include a 20 percent chance of rain Sunday night and Monday.
“However, if we do get rain, it's not going to be very much at all,” she added.