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Burn Bans

County-wide burn bans through April 1


Monthly Change in Drought Monitor Classification

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

Severe Drought Over Half of County—Even after a heavy hit from wintry precipitation earlier this week, it was not enough to put a dent in the drought across Hunt County. The northwestern half of the county is listed under a severe drought, while the southeastern half is under a moderate drought according to the US Drought monitor.
The Greenville Herald Banner, Brad Kellar, March 7, 2014

Rio Grande Water Release to Wait Until June—Rio Grande water releases for farming will take place June 1st rather than March 1st this year because of the continued drought. This year may have more water released than last year with a better snowpack in the southern Rockies, but if an abnormally dry May occurs more water restrictions may be expected.
The El Paso Times, Diana Washington Valdez, March 13, 2014

Bowie Drought Contingency Plan Adopted; Excess Water—The Bowie City Council recently adopted a new drought contingency plan which would lower the threshold for stage three restrictions in Amon G. Carter Lake and also added a level five to their four part plan. Carter Lake is doing much better than other lakes and Bowie is the only city that draws on it, but leaders are taking all precautions to prepare for the future of this precious commodity.
KAUZ News, Jimmie Johnson, March 18, 2014

Film Festival Hopes to Create a Ripple of Change—The League of Women Voters put on their second annual Prairie Water Film Festival to help bring attention to the need for water conservation in the drought. Two viewing sessions are open to the public with allowed discussion of water issues.
KFDA News, March 24, 2014

Water Supply

Population Increase Making Water Levels Drop—The population of Midland is expected to top 200,000 by the year 2028, and with lake levels already low this has many concerned about the water supply for the future. According to city officials conservation is the best way to prepare, and they are confident with short term water supply due to the completion of new pipelines and new access to water resources in the near future.
KWES News, Justin Kree, March 7, 2014

Mackenzie Drying Up; Cities Look for Options—Lake Mackenzie is drying up, and several cities near her including Silverton, Lockney, and Floydada are looking elsewhere for water. The lake currently sits at 52 feet and will be out of commission soon, so the cities are drilling several new wells and redistributing regional water with grants from the state. Once the wells are fully operational the water supply will be sufficient for current use.
The Plainview Herald, Homer Marquez, March 8, 2014

In Central Texas, Drought Threatens Hydropower—The Lower Colorado River Authority in the past few years has been producing less and less hydroelectric power from the six dams set up along the Colorado River. The drop in production is due to falling lake levels, and the electricity that once powered all of central Texas into the 60s will lose even more influence on the LCRA grid.
The Texas Tribune, Jim Malewitz, March 10, 2014

One More Foot of Water from Lake Texoma Means Drought Level 3—Lake Texoma is currently sitting at 608 feet, and if it drops below 607 the lake will enter drought level 3. This will put into action an Interagency Drought Management Committee which will oversee how lake resources are conserved and allocated.
KTEN News, Cathy Evans, March 10, 2014

EPWU Braces for Big Hit to City’s Water Supply this Drought Season—The city of El Paso is set to grow in population over the next decade and as the drought season gets underway water levels are dropping. The city has already drilled four wells with another 9 more planned each at a cost of $1 million. An $80 million water treatment facility is also underway which will convert sewage water into drinkable water.
KTSM News, Anoushah Rasta, March 11, 2014

Some West Texas Counties Could Run Out of Water in 90 Days—Crosby, Dickens, and Garza Counties are all at a point in water supply where they may run out of water resources within 90 days if things continue as they are. These areas are looking to drill new wells for water and are under extreme conservation measures.
KCBD News, Chelsea Davis, March 17, 2014

LCRA Moves Ahead with Reservoir to Help with Supply—Lake levels are currently at their lowest in decades, and a new reservoir in Wharton County will help to alleviate some of the drought pains across the region. Construction is set to begin this summer, with the lake being filled by early 2017.
KVUE News, Shannon Murray, March 20, 2014

Texas Town Restricts Water Use Amid Long Drought—Mineral Wells, famous for its mineral water supply, has imposed water restrictions because its main source of water is only a quarter full. The city has around a 400 day water supply from Lake Palo Pinto, and once access to the Brazos River occurs on June 1st that will increase the supply by 100 days, but the city is still restricting outdoor use due to the low levels on the lake.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 30, 2014


Wildfire Closes Texas State Park—This past Tuesday Palo Duro Canyon State Park was closed while firefighters battled a wildfire that consumed 15 acres of land. 80 campers were asked to leave the park on Monday night as strong winds whipped up the flames.
KWTX News, March 11, 2014

10 Acres Destroyed in Smith County Grass Fire; Wind a Factor—A controlled burn in the 15000 block of C.R. 354 in Smith County got out of hand due to the strong winds and consumed ten acres of land before being contained by fire crews. Minimal damage was reported to a fence and no injuries were reported.
KETK News, Ashleigh Brents, March 30, 2014

Agricultural impacts

Cold Weather Puts Hill Country Peaches in Jeopardy—Gilespie County produces more peaches than any other part of the state, but the recent cold snap puts that in jeopardy, again. When temperatures shortly before the front pushed 80 degrees about 30% of the peach crop on Herb Wahl’s farm began to bloom, but overnight after the front temperatures dipped down to 19 degrees putting the crop in danger. Only time will tell if this year, like previous years, will produce a poor harvest.
KXAN News, Omar Lewis, March 4, 2014

Cattle Producers Try to Rebuild Herds During Drought—The past three years of drought has hit the cattle industry hard, and now herders are looking to rebuild what once was. The cost of a heifer has gone up considerably since the drought began as has the overall cost of meat. With a lower number of cattle, the demand for feed has dropped too, also hurting local cattle feed producers.
KFDA News, March 10, 2014

Dry, Windy Conditions have some Texas Farmers Talking about Dust Bowl—The first quarter of the year has been the driest since 1996 in the Panhandle, and constantly strong winds have been peeling away the top layer of soil on farms. This has farmers worried about a possible new dust bowl era and the State Climatologist, Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, says if the spring green up doesn’t happen then this may be a possibility.
The Houston Chronicle, Carol Christian, March 28, 2014

Inclement Weather

Cold/Winter Weather

Ice, Freezing Rain and Sleet Grip Houston—Tuesday morning brought dangerous roads and power outages to the Houston area. CenterPoint Energy reported 26,000 customers without power mostly on the northwest side of the region. Luckily, Houston Emergency Management officials have not reported major traffic problems with the storm due to the early action of workers treating roads the night before. Only a few delays were noted at area airports as well thanks to preparation and mostly rain that far south.
The Houston Chronicle, Dale Lezon, March 4, 2014

Some Schools Plan Late Starts…as ‘Extremely Extreme’ March Weather Hits—Several school districts including Hearne, Leon, and Bremond will delay classes in the morning as ERCOT requests that all Texas customers conserve electricity in this bitter March cold. Ice buildup on Brazos County roadways has TxDOT crews preparing for the worst while no major accidents have been reported.
The Eagle, Jordan Overturf, March 3, 2014

Winter Weather Recap—Dozens of North Texas School districts will not open on Monday due to winter weather including Dallas, McKinney, and Denton. Ice buildup on interstates have left drivers stranded for hours on Interstate 45, 30, and 20 outside of the metroplex, while within the metro area plows and sandtrucks have been feverishly preventing icy conditions. A wind chill advisory is also in effect for the region as temperatures will feel like they are below zero in the morning. DFW Airport has also canceled hundreds flights out due to icy runways, and one plane skidded off of an icy runway when landing.
WFAA News, March 3, 2014

Severe Weather

Storms Bring Hail, Lightning and Rain Through Houston—Severe weather moved through the Houston area late Friday night and brought with it hail, high winds, and heavy rain. In Northeastern Harris County and in Liberty County a tornado warning was issued as a storm was spotted to have the qualities to produce a tornado. Luckily no tornado touched down.
KPRC News, Matt Aufdenspring, March 28, 2014

Strong Winds, Heavy Rain, Hail Strike Central Texas Cities—A line of strong storms moved through central Texas Friday afternoon causing slight damage and a few power outages. Up to golf ball sized hail was reported in Belton and is thought to be responsible for broken windows. High winds toppled a few trees in Temple and Centerville where intermittent power outages occurred with over 60 mph winds.
The Killeen Daily Herald, March 29, 2014


Tumbleweed Trouble—The high winds have brought in a huge amount of tumbleweeds, a normal sight in west Texas, but this year there seem to be more. With the burn ban still in effect, the usual method of burning weeds will not be an option, so people have taken to crushing or mowing over the weeds before throwing them away.
KFDA News, March 14, 2014

Cold Front Stirs Up Texas Sized Dust Storm—A large wall of dust moved through the Panhandle in response to strong northerly winds. Visibilities within the dust storm dropped to zero in places like Lubbock after the storm moved south out of Colorado.
KBTX News, Shel Winkley, March 18, 2014

Dust and Smoke Blow into DFW from Panhandle—Several calls came in to local fire departments reporting smoke in the air, but it was actually a mixture of smoke and dust coming all the way from the Panhandle. Strong winds from a cold front picked up dust from the high plains and have carried it south into the metroplex, and it will take some time before the dust settles.
KTVT News, Elizabeth Dinh, March 19, 2014

Other Climate Impacts


Winter Weather Delays and Closings—Many school districts, municipalities, and businesses across Central Texas have delayed or closed up shop due to the winter storm warning for the region. Most school districts including Austin, Bastrop, and Round Rock have two hour delays, and many government offices including the Comptroller’s Office, Travis County Offices, and the TCEQ have delayed opening as well.
KXAN News, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Weather-Related Delays, Closings—After classes were canceled on Monday, several school districts will continue to delay or cancel classes on Tuesday. Tyler, Hawkins, and Van ISD have canceled classes Tuesday while Nacogdoches, Harmony, and Winnsboro have delayed starts.
The Longview News Journal, March 4, 2014

Animals/Aquatic Life

Warmer Weather Means Snakes are Slithering Again—The arrival of spring means that snakes are coming out from their burrows and their long winter hibernations. This means they will be hungry, but luckily for us their favorite snacks are general household pests.
WOAI News, Jim Forsyth, March 12, 2014

Blue Sucker Fish Threatened by Low Water Levels—The LCRA is required to release a certain amount of water from the Highland Lakes each year to help maintain the habitat of threatened species. The Blue Sucker Fish is in spawning season and traditionally has received 500 cubic feet of water per second from the reservoirs. This year the LCRA is hoping to release only 300 cubic feet of water per second and now awaits approval from the TCEQ.
TWC News, Bonnie Gonzalez, March 20, 2014


Dire Water Report Out Today Urges SAWS to Change Course—The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce recently released a report about what types of effects on the local economy are expected from a water shortage. An 11% water shortage will cause thousands to lose jobs as manufacturers will be hit the hardest, followed by every conceivable piece of society. The cities that come out on top are those with water says economist Jon Hockenyos, and it’s time for San Antonio to search for more water.
WOAI News, Jim Forsyth, March 3, 2014

Lake Texoma ‘Open for Business’ Despite Low Water Levels—The original intention behind the creation of Lake Texoma in the 1940s was to be a resource for electricity, water, and flood control, but as the years have gone by recreation has become an important piece of the lakes benefit to the region. The Lake Texoma Association is moving to have recreational businesses get benefits and protection from water releases since they hurt business. Denison Dam has produced a record low amount of electricity this year due to low water levels, and rumors are circulating about the future of the lake.
The Herald Democrat, Michael Hutchins, March 19, 2014

Daycare Drought Watch—Sandy Cadena, owner of Sandy’s Little Darlings Daycare, has seen water and sewage bills rise over the past few years due to the drought, and this is pinching her businesses income. She says the city is not doing enough to help her and suggests resources be made available to help conserve water in toilets and showers such as those used in Oxnard, California.
KAUZ News, Brody Carter, March 26, 2014

No More Outdoor Plants for Lowe’s—Unlike most Lowe’s Home Improvement stores across the country, the Lowe’s in Wichita Falls will no longer stock outdoor plants due to the drought. With such hot summers in the past and the low water levels store and corporate leaders thought it would best serve the community to forgo outdoor plants. This does hurt the store’s bottom line, as nearly one third of spring sales comes from outdoor plant sales.
KFDX News, March 28, 2014


Haze on El Paso Skyline Caused by Dust—Winds from the northeast brought in dust from Western Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Panhandle to the Borderlands today putting a thin haze over the city. This prompted the TCEQ to issue a moderate air quality index warning, meaning those most sensitive to air particulates would be affected. People with allergies and breathing problems should avoid being outdoors until the dust and pollen settles.
The El Paso Times, Diana Washington Valdez, March 19, 2014


Is the Ice Storm Affecting the Azaleas Bloom?—This recent ice storm has folks at the Azalea Trail worried about the bloom and opening of the spring tradition in just two weeks. Landscaper James Wilhite believes that this late season hard freeze may prevent blooms from occurring until past the kickoff date of March 21st.
KETK News, Marlena Hamilton, March 4, 2014

North Texans Face Expanded Water Restrictions—Over 1 million North Texans, mostly in Collin County, will continue to be under stage 3 water restrictions, which permit lawn watering only twice per month. This has homeowners looking to more drought resistant landscaping and places like Calloway Nurseries are switching out their stock to help.
KTVT News, March 17, 2014


Cold Weather Freezes Voter Turnout—Polling places are seeing a much lower voter turnout for local elections this year, and you can blame the weather. Locations in Dayton where normal noon numbers are over 100, this year have only had 12 walk-in votes. The low turnout means that the election may be decided by early voting.
The Cleveland Advocate, Vanesa Brashier, March 4, 2014

Weather May Cast a Ballot in Today’s Primary—Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry says that due to inclement weather state polling places may open up late and stay open later based upon local conditions. Travis County has already delayed opening until 11 am. This is already a more exciting primary season with several republican contenders for top positions in Austin.
WOAI News, March 4, 20114

Drought States Set to Meet About Water Rights—Representatives from Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico are set to meet Thursday to talk about water rights along the Rio Grande River. Texas and New Mexico are currently in a legal battle in the Supreme Court about groundwater pumping along the border, and the drought has only aggravated the situation.
KVII News, March 20, 2014


TxDOT Issues Winter Weather Warning, Discourages Unnecessary Travel—The winter storm that is currently affecting North and North Central Texas has prompted TxDOT to issue a winter weather warning that discourages all travel in the affected areas. Road conditions are expected to be dangerous for areas including Amarillo, Lubbock, DFW, and Tyler.
The Waxahachie Daily Light, March 3, 2014

Winter Weather Wreaks havoc on Drivers and Responding Officers—Freezing rain and sleet have caused over 44 accidents in Waco over the past few hours and TxDOT crews are resanding roads as traffic backed up for miles on I-35 and highway 6. At some points emergency calls for car accidents were coming in so quickly that emergency crews could not handle them all at once.
KXXV News, Kristianna Gross, March 3, 2014

I-20 Near Lindale a Parking Lot in Winter Ice Storm—Hotels for 50 miles outside Lindale were bookked up when interstate 20 came to a standstill overnight thanks to freezing rain and sleet. Many drivers were forced to spend the night in their vehicles on or alongside the interstate waiting for roads to clear.
KLTV News, Summer Dashe, March 3, 2014

Traffic Backed up for 40 Miles South of Dallas—Snow and ice has left a huge traffic jam in Navarro county near Corsicana, leaving drivers trapped for hours. Estimates are that the standstill extends for over 40 miles on northbound interstate 45.
KTVT News, March 4, 2014

Weather Postpones Buccaneer Athletic Events—Due to icy weather the Blinn basketball, softball, and baseball teams have postponed games today. The Region XIV Conference Basketball Tournament was postponed to tomorrow due to the closure of UT-Tyler’s campus, while the baseball team’s game in Angelina and the home softball game have also been delayed one day.
KBTX News, March 4, 2014

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