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Burn Bans

County-wide burn bans through March 1


Monthly Change in Drought Monitor Classification

U.S. Drought Monitor, February 4, 2014
U.S. Drought Monitor, February 25, 2014

Effects from Drought Still Hurting Texas—The record 2011 drought maybe over, but its impacts still linger across the state. More than 50% of the state is currently under some kind of drought conditions and though this drought wasn’t as bad as the 1950s drought, there are many more people in Texas than then.
KFDA News, February 13, 2014

Drought Worsens Despite Recent Wintry Precipitation—As February 25, Abilene has been 1.57 inches below normal for this time of year. The recent wintry precipitation is not as helpful as some think because it is less able to soak into the soil than rain is. At this point 58.2% of the state is under some kind of drought status.
KTXS News, Chelsea Humphrey, February 26, 2014

Water Supply

Rio Grande Water Levels Low, Drought Continues—Runoff on the Rio Grande is expected to be much lower than normal this summer due to less than average snowfall. Forecasts call for 70% of average runoff near the Colorado-New Mexico border and under 30% at Elephant Butte Reservoir. This is bad news for the El Paso water supply.
KTSM News, Keagan Harsha, February 5, 2014

Low Aquifer Levels May Signal Water Shortage—The Edwards Aquifer in San Antonio began the year at 640.7 feet, the lowest level in nearly 50 years. The low levels there may indicate a drop in water through the Comal and San Marcos springs, which will require an upgrade in drought restrictions for San Angelo.
The University Star, Scott Allen, February 6, 2014

Stage 5: Drought Catastrophe?—Wichita Falls is currently under stage 4 drought conditions, but stage 5 conditions may be required as Lake Arrowhead and Kickapoo are at a combined 27.5% capacity. Stage 5 will be enacted once water levels are below 25%, and they will require all non-essential water usage to cease including the filling of pools and the operation of car washes. If enacted the water park Castaway Cove will not open this summer.
KAUZ News, James Parish, February 14, 2014

Water Restrictions for Leander Residents Start Saturday—The city of Leander is in Stage 3 water restrictions. Starting Saturday residents can only water their lawn or wash their cars one day a week. That day is based on the address number. All businesses will water on the same day of the week. On the assigned day all watering must be done before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Residents will get one warning before facing fines for violations.
KVUE News, February 28, 2014


Crews Battle Smoky, Wind-Whipped Wildfire—Killeen firefighters and several other departments spent many hours on Friday afternoon battling a wildfire off Karen Drive west of Old FM 440 in Killeen. The fire was in a heavy brush area, so trucks could not get to the blaze and firemen were required to go out with hoses and tools to the fire. The fire occurred under high winds as a wind advisory was in effect at the time.
KWTX News, Ben Griffin, February 14, 2014

Agricultural Impacts

East Texas Cattle Producers are Depending on Rain, Herd Size at Record Low—The Lindale cattle herd is at its lowest level in many years thanks to the persistent drought. The intense 2011 drought prevented grass from growing to feed the herds, so many ranchers sold off cattle at a time when prices were high, but herd sizes are still small to this day, and rain is needed in order for herd sizes to be built back up.
KETK News, Teresa Sardina, February 4, 2014

Texas Rice Farmers Face 3rd Year of Limited Water—The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality held a hearing Wednesday to discuss permanently raising the lake levels required to issue a release of water to downstream rice farmers. For a third year levels are too low for rice farmers to irrigate their crops, but the TCEQ failed to approve a raise in lake levels for release.
KXAN News, February 12, 2014

Inclement Weather

Cold/Winter Weather

Snow play—Four inches of snow fell in Wichita Falls on Sunday, and families decided to take advantage of the fun. Father and daughter Colby and Chays Frost went sledding on an overpass hill near their home and enjoyed spending time with one another.
KAUZ News, Jack Carney, February 3, 2014

Streets Services Department Activates “Ice Force” Status—The city of Dallas Street Services Department has upgraded the current road treating conditions from “Ice Force 1” to “Ice Force 2” as melted snow refreezes on roadways. “Ice Force 1” employs 40 sand-trucks and 100 people, while “Ice Force 2” requires 70 trucks and 145 people. The city is taking a harder stance on any possible ice after December’s storm dubbed “Ice-maggedon”.
KTVT News, Ken Molestina, February 6, 2014

Threat of Ice Gives Many Austinites a Day Off—Although no winter weather was reported on Thursday, the threat of it was enough for school and university officials to cancel classes, city authorities to treat roadways, and police to remain on alert for crashes. Luckily, no ice occurred, but the day off was a welcome thing for many people.
KEYE News, Fred Cantu, February 7, 2014

Unusually Cold Winter Weather Takes Toll on Homeless—The city of Austin has opened up emergency shelters twice as many times as last winter due to frigid temperatures, and the number of homeless in the shelters is up despite the overall homeless population being down. An estimated 11,700 people have sought assistance from shelters this winter, up from 5,000 last winter.
The Texas Tribune, Rabeea Tahir, February 20, 2014

Other Climate Impacts

Rare Industrial Snow Event Affects the Panhandle—Near perfect atmospheric conditions led to a rare industrial caused snowfall event for parts of Amarillo and Borger. The steam put off by industrial complexes has condensed to form clouds as it has risen in the atmosphere and then dropped snow in its wake. The snow tracks are thin, but within them around 3 inches of snow has fallen.
KFDA News, Marissa Silver, February 10, 2014


Surprise Snow Freezes School—Two inches of snow fell in Abilene Thursday morning prompting university officials with Abilene Christian University to cancel classes. Students took advantage of the surprise snow day and went out into the single digit wind chills to have snowball fights and sled.
The Optimist, Marissa Jones, February 6, 2014

Hillcrest Teacher Gets Plaque for Helping Students Be Water Wise—For the past 10 years fifth grade science teacher Jan Reeves has been teaching students to be water wise, and today she was honored by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District for her efforts. She received a plaque noting her dedication and service to the community.
Plainview Herald News, Homer Marquez, February 19, 2014

Animals/Aquatic Life

131 Cold Stunned Sea Turtles Rescued Saturday, 14 Turtles Found Dead—The sudden cold weather has hit the coastal sea turtle population hard. This past Saturday 131 sea turtles were found cold stunned along the South Texas Laguna Madre, 14 of whom died. The turtles that are still alive have been taken to a facility for care until the weather warms up again. Since November 965 cold stunned turtles have been found along the coast.
KIII News, February 9, 2014


Small Businesses Eligible for Loans because of Drought—163 Texas counties are now eligible for low interest federal disaster relief loans because of the ongoing drought. Businesses that qualify are those that are directly dependent upon agriculture, ranching, or other environmental dependencies. Loans are possible for up to $2 million.
The Victoria Advocate, February 4, 2014

Drop in Water use May Trigger Austin Rate Increase—The folks down in Austin have been so good at conserving water that Austin Utilities is not selling enough water to stay in the black. In order to absorb the expected $27 million budget whole the idea of rate increases has become an ever more enticing option. Costs with water utilities cannot be cut due, so a double digit rate increase may already be in the works for the citizens of Austin.
The Austin American Statesman, February 25, 2014


Austin Water Offers Landscape Incentives—In order to conserve water, Austin Water is providing up to $25 per 100 square feet of drought tolerant landscaping. The work must be approved by a ciy landscaper and the maximum incentive is $1,250.KVUE News, Jade Mingus, February 13, 2014


Lt. Governor Candidates Shift Focus to Transportation, Water—The highly contested Lieutenant Governor position has debated on many things already, but today the focus shifted to water and transportation. All candidates supported the recently passed proposition 6, but some say it should go further. All candidates support more money for transportation infrastructure.
YNN Austin, Karina King, February 6, 2014

Candidates Discuss County Water Issues—The remaining five Republican candidates for the District 16 Texas House of Representatives seat up for grabs this election spent 45 minutes hashing out what their platform on water supply for Montgomery County would be. Each candidate brought to the table a varying set of positions including desalinization, conservation, better organization, and well drilling.
The East Montgomery County Observer, Russell Ledbetter, February 7, 2014

Cloud Seeding Funds Approved by WF City Council—The fourth straight year of drought has left lake levels at a historic low and the water supply in danger for Wichita Falls. The low water levels have led to an approved $300,000 budget from the city of Wichita Falls to support cloud seeding operations. The company in charge, Seeding Operation and Atmospheric Research, will determine when the best times to deploy are and will hopefully bring some water back to the ground.
KAUZ News, Alexandra McClung, February 19, 2014


Light Snow, Sleet Causes Plenty of Problems for Walker County—Over a dozen accidents were reported just between 8 and 9am Thursday morning as light sleet, snow, and freezing rain gave a light coating of ice to bridges and overpasses. This is unlike any winter ever seen for many longtime residents of Walker County.
KHOU News, Jeremy Desel, February 6, 2014

Snow and Frigid Temps Wreak Havoc on Roadways—An unsuspected 2 inches of snow and frigid temperatures made travel in Collin County treacherous throughout the day Thursday. Main thoroughfares were kept pretty clear by TxDoT officials, but the side streets were the most affected and police responded to many accidents all across the county.
KTVT News, Jennifer Lindgren, February 6, 2014

Winter Weather Stalls Morning Commute in Bryan-College Station—Sleet, snow, and the morning commute did not mix well today as ice began to accumulate on bridges and overpasses across BCS. Multiple wrecks were reported and the 2818-Wellborn overpass and Highway 6-Texas Avenue exit were closed due to ice.
The Eagle, February 6, 2014

TxDOT Spends Several Thousands of Dollars Worth of Material in Ice Storms—In San Antonio the Texas Department of Transportation spent more than $88,000 on materials for treating roads in the last two ice storms to hit the metro area.
KENS News, Sharon Ko, February 7, 2014

TxDOT Sends Out Crews and Equipment Following Winter Weather Advisory—Ten coastal bend counties have been placed under a winter weather advisory and TxDOT has sent out road preparation crews to de-ice heavily traveled roadways.
KIII News, February 7, 2014

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