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Dry conditions, once again, persisted through February. There were a few days of rain, but according to the NOAA precipitation analysis, most areas in Texas saw accumulations of less than 3 inches. With the year-to- date precipitation is still well below normal, except in a few isolated locations in South Central and West Texas, what little rain fell only marginally helped a select few locations around the state. Dry conditions prompted fire weather concerns throughout most of the month of February. Red flag warnings and burn bans were a common occurrence in the Texas Panhandle and across the northern half of the state, with a 1,700 acre fire breaking out near Amarillo. Dry conditions also impacted agriculture during the month. Cotton acreage is expected to increase compared to 2015 numbers, and farmers in the Panhandle are hoping continued warm conditions will help prevent stripe rust outbreaks. However, short bursts of very wet and very dry conditions have harmed East Texas farmers, with some estimates expecting revenues to drop from $115 million to $75 million. Vegetables farmers are crossing their fingers dry conditions persist through the end of the growing season.

For most of Texas it felt like spring came early. Temperatures were above normal for much of the state during February. The warmer weather did have positive impacts on Texas state parks. Most state parks saw an increase in attendance during the winter, with some parks having increases upwards of 25%. Flooding in Central Texas Parks had negative impacts however, where the effects of flooding in 2015 were still being dealt with. Residents of San Marcos are relieved to hear federal funding will be heading their way after the floods of 2015. $25 million dollars will most likely be put towards flood control projects and home buyouts, with another allotment for public infrastructure in Van Zandt County.

El Niño conditions are currently present in the tropical Pacific, though rain and temperatures have not necessarily been in line with typical El Niño events. According to the State Climatologist, average rainfall accumulations could still be above normal for the winter. There is still a chance to see El Niño conditions with it holding its own in the Pacific Ocean, but forecasters are now determining if a role reversal into a La Niña will occur. La Niña is associated with warmer, drier weather during the winter months.
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