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LocoAko

OK/TX Drought & Wildfire Thread

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Some may find this boring, but I figured it'd be worthwhile to have a repository thread for drought and wildfire information given the current state of soil moisture levels in the region and things only expected to worsen as we head toward the Death Ridge (or "summer", as some folks call it). Oklahoma (statewide) is currently experiencing their 2nd driest year on record, falling behind 1936. This first two posts will contain the most recent updated graphics and data form various sources, and I'll try to update the thread with any articles, photos, etc. (Hey, we have to do something to stay occupied with no storms around right?)...

Drought Information

Current Oklahoma USGS Drought Monitor (as of May 20, 2014):

20140506_ok_none.png
 
 
 
 
Current Texas USGS Drought Monitor (as of May 20, 2014):

20140506_tx_none.png

Current Day 1 Fire Weather Outlook:

day1otlk_fire.gif
 

Current D2 Fire Weather Outlook:
 

day2otlk_fire.gif


7-Day Change in 10 in. Fractional Soil Moisture

current.delta7day.FW25.png

Last 30 Days Precipitation Departure From Average

last30daysdel.png

Last 30 Days Precipitation Percentage of Normal

last30dayspct.png

Year-to-Date Precipitation Departure From Average

caldel.png

Year-to-Date Precipitation Percentage of Normal

calpct.png

Consecutive Days With <= 0.25 in. of Precipitation

mesonet.rainfall.quarterinch.png

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Wildfire Information

 

Current Oklahoma Burn Bans:

 

BurnBanMap05052014b.png

 

Current Texas Burn Bans:

 

DecBan.png

Current Fire Danger Index

latest.bi.gif

Link to Current Oklahoma Fires (big file): http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/data/activefiremaps/sso2014126_1700.jpg

Link to Current TX Panhandle Fires (big file): http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/data/activefiremaps/swx2014126_1700.jpg

More information: http://okfire.mesonet.org/public/?cat=fire

Current Precipation Deficit at Oklahoma City:

climate_KOKC_2014.png

Current Precipitation Deficit at Gage:

climate_KGAG_2014.png

Current Precipitation Deficit at Wichita Falls:

climate_KSPS_2014.png

Year-to-Date Precipitation:

caltot.png

Seasonal Drought Outlook:

season_drought.png

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I probably just haven't been paying attention, but I can't remember ever seeing a NWS-issued Fire Warning. One was issued for Woodward and Harper counties but has since expired.

000

WOUS44 KOUN 062106

FRWOUN

OKC059-153-070015-

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

FIRE WARNING

WOODWARD AND HARPER CO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK

406 PM CDT TUE MAY 6 2014

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE

WOODWARD AND HARPER COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

A WILDFIRE WAS LOCATED FROM 4 MILES NORTHWEST OF WOODWARD NEAR

HIGHWAY 270 AND EAST-WEST COUNTY ROAD 36...TO HIGHWAY 34 ONE MILE

SOUTH OF THE HARPER COUNTY LINE. THIS WILDFIRE WAS MOVING RAPIDLY

TOWARD THE NORTHEAST INTO FAR SOUTHEAST PORTIONS OF HARPER COUNTY.

RESIDENTS IN THE PATH NEAR AND EAST OF HIGHWAY 34 SHOULD

IMMEDIATELY EVACUATE TO THE SOUTH AND EAST.

PERSONS CAN GO TO THE WOODWARD PIONEER ROOM LOCATED AT 9TH AND

OKLAHOMA IN WOODWARD.

Also of interest was an article about Wichita Falls and their proposed recycling of wastewater for drinking water to combat the water shortage they are facing:

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/06/309101579/drought-stricken-texas-town-turns-to-toilets-for-water?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=morningedition&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20140506

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Thanks for starting this thread. We are really suffering here in KS as well. If Wichita doesn't get .38" of rain by May 8th, it will be the driest start to a year since the dust bowl year of 1936. In W KS, the Arkansas River ceases to exist once you get past Dodge City. Like those from Oklahoma, the fact we are seeing 90 and 100 degree heat this early, is not a good sign.

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It's all about persistence. We can discuss a few things here. Both this year's current drought situation unfolding, and also desertification of western OK and the OK/TX panhandles. Lots of positive feedback mechanisms at work, and deserts can grow gregariously unless something intervenes. Time to start thinking about major implications on crop availability for the entire U.S.

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I probably just haven't been paying attention, but I can't remember ever seeing a NWS-issued Fire Warning. One was issued for Woodward and Harper counties but has since expired.

000

WOUS44 KOUN 062106

FRWOUN

OKC059-153-070015-

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

FIRE WARNING

WOODWARD AND HARPER CO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK

406 PM CDT TUE MAY 6 2014

 

I've only ever seen fire warnings from Norman and IIRC either Amarillo or Lubbock 

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Several Texas offices issued Fire Warnings back during the 2009 and 2011 wildfire seasons. They're issued when EMAs request them due to evacuation orders. They'll set off weather radios and the EAS similar to severe weather warnings. 

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2011's not even on these lists.  IIRC, 2011 was dry but not horrible until the rainfall just shut off in May.  5/24/11 had some supercells move across DFW that kept us at least one full drought category lower than the rest of the state for the rest of the year.

 

ri0Kbje.png

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Not much relief sort term for the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma the next 5 days.  There was a time when the Euro was pretty enthusiastic abut rain, but the GFS was always dry, and it seems drier almost always wins, and Euro now rapidly going to the GFS dry forecast.

post-138-0-87933000-1399461145_thumb.gif

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Yeah, unfortunately this latest trough didn't bring a ton of relief to areas that needed it the most, although the 3/4" of rain in the Altus region should help at least for a little while. Most places are still running at or under half for the year.

 

rainrfc.168hr.png

 

climate_KSPS_2014.png

 

climate_KOKC_2014.png

 

climate_KGAG_2014.png

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If we can get a cut off low in the southwest underneath a western north america block, which is very possible in Nino/+PDO regimes (and several climate models are advertising such a pattern in june), then relief might come to the western Plains. 

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Central, Northeast, and North Central OK have slipped into first place for driest year-to-date, with West Central and the Panhandle slipping into 2nd. Meanwhile southern and southeast OK are doing much better, as the rich get richer, so to speak.

 

10013365_924748195449_640633742575115154

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Good news for the areas the desperately need a multi day soaking rain.

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Of course, average or even slightly above average in places that don't get much rain, especially California (different subforum, but also note TX/OK isn't as great as it sounds), but notice where the cfs I grabbed off WxBell thinks the worst of the drought will be.  MBY.

post-138-0-26674500-1400516061_thumb.gif

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Of course, average or even slightly above average in places that don't get much rain, especially California (different subforum, but also note TX/OK isn't as great as it sounds), but notice where the cfs I grabbed off WxBell thinks the worst of the drought will be.  MBY.

And of course the CFSv2 is about as right as NOAA in their seasonal predictions...but I digress.

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And of course the CFSv2 is about as right as NOAA in their seasonal predictions...but I digress.

 

 

And now I see a few people talking very low SOI values on the ENSO thread

 

And of course the CFSv2 is about as right as NOAA in their seasonal predictions...but I digress.

 

and wanting to take way my strong El Nino which will finally water MBY this cool season,

 

But short term, if you see optimism through the Summer, I, as an optimistic guy, would love to see it.

 

 

 

http://www.khou.com/news/texas-news/Dozens-of-Texas-communities-with-less-than-90-days-of-water-259782111.html

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QPF continues to advertise some much needed relief for the areas that need rain desperately.

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Nothing like a slow moving trough and the potential for a warming 5H low trapped in a stagnant flow to but a dent in a long term drought

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So wonderful to see a swirling blob of rain (the scientific term, of course) over the TX Panhandle and Western Oklahoma... it feels like it has been forever. Unfortunately 1-2" will only put a slight dent in our year-to-date deficit but every little bit counts.  B)

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Models continue to suggest drought relief for almost all of Texas and Oklahoma.

 

 

Except the Houston area, of course.

 

 

Lots of expensive homes up among the dying pines in the Woodlands...

 

 

The good news, watering it 2 or 3 times a week, but the water oak the tree expert claimed was dead because of the drought when all the leaves dropped last Summer, is making quite the comeback.  A few 'dead' branches starting to bud now, a few more branches, dead, or just sleeping?

 

Builders never should have planted a water oak in semi-arid Houston per the expert, and I assumed it was a somewhat drought tolerant live oak because it kept most of its leaves all year, even during our brutal Winters.

 

 

The last weather event of significance in Houston, not counting the ice storms my boss insisted I drive in, Hurricane Ike, that tree lost all its leaves, but not a single major branch.  It bounced back that year, and it is bouncing back again.

post-138-0-43554400-1400863685_thumb.gif

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That slow moving ULL is exactly what the doctor ordered for western TX and parts of western OK.

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That slow moving ULL is exactly what the doctor ordered for western TX and parts of western OK.

 

Now if we can get one of those at least once a month for the next couple of years.....

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Now if we can get one of those at least once a month for the next couple of years.....

 

Yeah.

 

Norman Mesonet wound up with a womping 0.71" for the event.  :cry:

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Now that the low has moved to the east, this week's drought monitor has been released (which only includes through Tuesday morning), so slight further improvement remains possible. Houston metro has seen a total recovery out of drought conditions, and the southern portion of the TX panhandle has dropped from Exceptional to Extreme, but in other areas not much has changed. In Oklahoma, D4 has decreased from 34.25% to 26.47% and D3 has decreased from 61.24% to 55.04% (with the D0-D4 category remaining at 94% for the state as a whole). Texas saw better improvements, with D4 decreasing from 25.05% to 10.76% and D3 decreasing from 40.35% to 32.81% (with the D0-D4 category dropping from 90% to 89%). Still, very little bit helps, I suppose, and we'll see what the next update has once the entire system has progressed through the area.

 

20140527_ok_none.png

 

20140527_tx_none.png

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The daily heavy rainfall with reoccurring MCV's developing in New Mexico and traversing E across the Panhandles of TX and OK have certainly helped the ongoing multi year drought. PW's near 2 inches have brought 5 inch per hour rainfall rates across portions of N Central Texas and Southern Oklahoma. My hunch is the drought feedback issues we have seen for the past 6 years is finally relaxing. The pattern continues to advertise additional multi day rain chances as yet another stalled boundary and a Western trough develops. As the MJO shifts further E later in the month additional rain chances may develop across the area as increased tropical moisture from the Eastern Pacific arrives. Monsoon season is just around the corner for the Desert SW as well.

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