El-Nino conditions officially developed at the beginning of March, and South Texas weather followed the typical climate observed during El-Nino (above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures). Rainfall was well above normal over all of South Texas. Percent of normal rainfall ranged from around 200% to more than 400% of normal, including areas previously experiencing moderate or severe drought. Since the start of 2015, all of South Texas has received at least 125% of their normal rainfall, with many areas east of Highway 281 receiving between 10 and 15 inches of precipitation. Since the beginning of the 2015 Water Year (which began October 1 2014), only portions of the Rio Grande, (including the city of Laredo), near the Victoria-Jackson County line, and near the Bee-Goliad-Karnes County line showed slightly below normal rainfall (about 90%).
The Drought Monitor product shows that only a small portion of South Texas remains in drought, namely extreme northeastern portions of Bee County and extreme northwestern portions of Goliad County. Small areas of abnormally dry conditions also exist over northern portions of Bee, northwestern portions of Goliad, northeastern portions of Live Oak, as well as near the Victoria-Jackson County line and in extreme northern La Salle County. Otherwise, the vast majority of South Texas is drought- free.
According to the USGS Water Watch website, most river and creek levels were near to slightly above normal over South Texas at the beginning of April. The Guadalupe River at Victoria has ranged between 6.5 feet (742 cfs) and 7.0 feet (942 cfs) in late March and early April, with the river having reached flood stage for several days during March (especially at Bloomington).
The combined capacity at Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Dam briefly fell to below 30% on March 8 (which would have started Stage 3 water restrictions), but heavy rainfall quickly brought the combined capacity above 30%. As of April 2, the combined capacity stood at 34.2%, which was 4.1 percentage points higher than the beginning of March.
Thus, Stage 2 water restrictions remain for Corpus Christi residents. No water restrictions are in effect for the City of Victoria or the City of Laredo. For other locations experiencing water restrictions, see Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) website. While this assessment is normally updated weekly, residents should check to verify their status is current.
Each week, the Climate Prediction Center soil moisture page analyzes the soil moisture anomaly and the percent of available soil moisture as compared to normal. As of April 1, above normal moisture anomalies and percentiles were observed over all of South Texas, thanks to the well above normal rainfall in March. Crop Moisture Indices were now abnormally moist over the HSA.
The Texas Forest Service uses the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) as a system for relating current and recent weather conditions to potential or expected fire behavior. The KDBI is a numerical index calculated daily for each county. Each number is an estimate of the amount of rain, in hundredths of an inch, needed to bring the soil back to saturation. The index ranges from 0 to 800, with 0 representing a saturated soil and 800 a completely dry soil.
Thee April 2015 temperature and rainfall outlooks issued by CPC show a greater likelihood for above normal rainfall and above normal temperatures for the month.
The CPC seasonal outlooks for April 2015 through June 2015 show a greater likelihood for above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures.