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CalARVC: Get Trees Checked In Drought

August 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC-logo-286x145Last month, California Association of RV Parks And Campgrounds (CalARVC) member Santa Margarita Lake Kampgrounds of America (KOA) became the headline for a local news station, CalARVC said today (Aug. 13) in its weekly newsletter. As CalARVC said, thank goodness the victim was a jeep and not a camper.

California’s drought is weakening trees around the state. If you haven’t had an arborist inspect your trees this year, now would be a good time. Even then, an inspection can’t guarantee a disaster won’t strike at any time. Santa Margarita Lake KOA had just had an inspector check their trees and saw no potential problems.

“The best bet is to have a plan in place,” says Chris Hipple of Leavitt Insurance. “Have a year-round tree inspection plan in place and follow it. When and if a tree or branch fall occurs, you have shown your due diligence to maintain the safety of your guests.”

Too Much Rain from Southwest’s Monsoons

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

SUMMARY: The combination of ample Gulf and Pacific tropical moisture (in part from Tropical Storms Manuel (Pacific) and Ingrid (Gulf) which inundated Mexico), stalled frontal systems, and upsloping conditions produced widespread heavy to copious rainfall (widespread 2 to 6 inches, locally 12 to 18 inches especially near Boulder, Colo.) and severe flash flooding in parts of New Mexico and Colorado. Moderate to heavy rains (1.5 to 4 inches) also drenched portions of Arizona, eastern Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, south-central Montana, western sections of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and northern and southern Texas. September monsoonal rains have generated welcome relief from the drought in the Southwest, central Rockies and High Plains, but unfortunately have been accompanied by flash flooding.

Elsewhere, a pair of cold fronts during the week brought relief from last week’s unseasonable heat in the Midwest and Northeast, along with light to moderate rain that generally prevented further deterioration of conditions. Hit and miss (mostly miss) showers occurred in the Southeast, with the most significant rains (more than 2 inches) limited to southern Florida.

Warm and mostly dry weather returned to the Northwest after a wet first week of September. Wet weather continued across most of Alaska, while decent windward showers returned to the Hawaiian Islands.

Heavy Rains Expected for Parched U.S. West

September 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Weather Summary: Several fronts moved across the central and eastern contiguous U.S. during the past week, bringing generally under an inch of rain to the Great Lakes and the Northeast. Heavy rain (2 inches or greater) fell across much of the Gulf Coast region, western Illinois, parts of the Northern Great Plains, and the higher terrain of the Washington and Oregon Cascades.

A very generous monsoonal flow into the Southwest brought light to moderate rain (less than 2 inches) to much of this region, with many reporting stations in Arizona receiving between 2-4 inches of rain during the past seven days.

Looking Ahead: During Sept. 12-16, heavy rainfall (2-4 inches) is anticipated over New Mexico, Colorado, western Kansas and far southern Texas. Generally light rain (0.5-inch or less) is expected across the Midwest, with high temperatures near- to slightly below normal.

For the ensuing five days (Sept. 17-21, 2013), odds for above normal precipitation are greatest across the central third of the contiguous U.S., the Gulf Coast, Pacific Northwest and northern Alaska, with maximum probabilities near 60% over southern Texas. Odds for below normal precipitation are greatest over the Northeast, mid-Atlantic region, upper Ohio Valley and southern third of Alaska.

Drought Intensifies in Western/Midwest States

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Weather Summary: The week commenced with high pressure over the Southeast and storm systems traversing across the northern U.S. As the week progressed, the high pressure system traveled westward, settling over the south-central Plains while a trough of low pressure and associated cold front brought scattered showers and thunderstorms to the eastern third of the Nation.

A weak frontal system generated scattered showers in the Pacific Northwest. In the Southwest, tropical moisture from Tropical Storm Juliette (which dissipated off central Baja California) helped to fuel the southwest monsoon in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and southern Idaho. Decent showers also fell on parts of New Mexico and Colorado. Hit and miss showers also fell on parts of the northern Plains and upper Midwest, the central Great Plains, and south-central Texas.

Unsettled weather and decent precipitation also affected most of Alaska, with many stations reporting weekly totals exceeding 2 inches in southwestern and south-central sections of the state.

In contrast, little or no rain fell on most of California, Oregon and eastern Washington, parts of the Plains, most of the Mississippi Valley and much of Hawaii. Weekly temperatures averaged well above normal (6 to 10 deg F.) across much of the contiguous U.S., with the exception of seasonable readings in the desert Southwest and Southeast. Highs topped triple-digits in the southern two-thirds of the Plains, southern Iowa and northern Missouri.

Looking Ahead: During Sept. 4-9, rainfall is forecast to be along the borders of the contiguous U.S., namely in the Northwest, the Great Lakes region into New England, along the Gulf Coast (Texas to Florida), and in the Southwest. Unseasonable warmth is predicted for much of the country, but especially in the North-Central States.

For the ensuing five days (Sept. 10-14), odds for above normal precipitation are greatest in the Southwest, Great Lakes region, Appalachians and southeastern Alaska. Subnormal rainfall probabilities are highest in the Northwest, southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley, coastal New England, and western Alaska. Temperatures are expected to be above normal in the western two-thirds of the U.S., Southeast, and southeastern Alaska.

Report – Drought Spreading into the Midwest

August 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Past Week: Several cold fronts stalled across the Southeast during the past week, bringing slightly cooler temperatures and occasional precipitation to parts of the area. Moisture from what was briefly Tropical Storm Ivo off the coast of Baja California surged into the Southwest, resulting in moderate rains (0.5 – 1.5 inches, locally heavier) over a significant portion of the region. In the central part of the nation, above-normal temperatures combined with rapidly worsening drought, resulting in widespread deterioration of conditions especially across the Midwest.

Looking Ahead: During the Aug. 29-Sept. 2 time period, 1.0-2.5 inches of rain is expected from western North Dakota eastward across central Minnesota, continuing southeastward across much of Wisconsin and lower Michigan. Between 1.0-1.5 inches of rain is predicted to fall across much of Arizona. Temperatures across the Midwest are forecast to be about 8-12 degrees above normal for the first half of this period, followed by a brief respite, with temperatures near seasonal values.

For the ensuing 5 days (Sept. 3-7), near to below-median rainfall is favored across most of the central third of the country. Above-median rainfall is favored across the Four Corners region, most of the Rockies and Northwest, and the northern High Plains. Near to above-normal temperatures are predicted for all but northeastern portions of the country.

Update – Rainfall Easing High Plains Drought

August 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Summary: This U.S. Drought Monitor week was dominated by a persistent weather system that dumped precipitation from eastern Colorado, through the Southern Plains and Tennessee Valley and into the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England over multiple days. Widespread areas of two-plus inches were experienced with some locations receiving over five inches from the storm. While there were numerous reports of wind and hail from Colorado to Maryland, no tornadoes have been reported, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

Looking Ahead: During the Aug. 15-19  time period, there is an above-normal chance for precipitation in the Southeast and in areas of the High Plains. Temperatures are expected to be above-normal in the West, mostly centered on the Rockies, and below-normal in the Southern Plains and into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

For the ensuing five days (Aug. 20-24, the odds favor above-normal temperatures throughout the entire West, across the northern tier of the country and into New England, as well as across southern Alaska. Normal to below-normal temperatures are favored from the Central Plains, into the South and the Southeast. Above normal-precipitation is likely across most of the East Coast, through the Southeast, and into the Southern Plains, as well as in southern Alaska. The Northern Plains, Northwest, and northern Alaska are all likely to see below-normal precipitation.

Drought Forces Texas Park Water Curtailments

August 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Guadalupe River watershed. Map courtesy of Wikipedia

Some visitors to Guadalupe River State Park could be reconsidering their travel plans after drought conditions have forced Texas Parks and Wildlife to turn off water service to the park’s three campgrounds and restrooms on most weekdays, the San Marcos Mercury reported.

The park is located in Comal and Kendall counties 30 miles north of downtown San Antonio.

Texas Parks and Wildlife is offering optional reservation refunds and transfers to those who had planned to visit the park on days other than Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The grounds will still remain open during the week for visitors, and portable restrooms will be available. Friday, Saturday and Sunday visitors can use water in two of the park’s three campgrounds, where restrooms will be open.

Park officials were forced to shut down weekday water service to park campgrounds after water flow in the Guadalupe River “decreased to almost nothing” in the last two weeks, agency spokesman Tom Harvey said. The park makes the decision to shut off water based on river flow rates and surpassed the minimum threshold on Saturday, he added in an email.

Though the park still has enough water for wading and some deep holes for swimming, the water level is also “much shallower than normal,” Harvey said.

The water curtailment is probably the first time the park has had to shut down water service “due to drought conditions and low river flow since the park opened,” Harvey added.

“From time to time, we have had to shut off public water service at various state parks, usually due to problems with [the] park or outside water treatment or supply systems,” Harvey said. He added that he did not know of any other water curtailments being considered at other state parks.

Honey Creek State Natural Area, a nearby state park, does not typically provide water to visitors and remains unaffected, said Joel Parker, the park’s assistant superintendent.

Park Pumps River Water

This map of Texas from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly Drought Monitor shows the variety of drought regions in Texas. The dark brown and red colors indicate the most severe areas.

On a weekend with a full campground capacity, park visitors “could use 10,000 to 12,000 gallons per day,” Harvey wrote. The park pumps water from the river based on demand, so the overall drain varies from day to day, he added. Visitors also heavily favor weekends for park visits, and about four times as many people visit the park over the weekend, park Superintendent Scott Taylor said.

The park is still supplying water to two employee residences in the park, which do not strongly drain the river, said Parker.

Texas Parks and Wildlife originally shut down all water service to the park on Monday and began returning calls to all people who had made upcoming reservations to inform them of the water curtailment, Parker said. The calls, which offered either a refund or a free transfer of the reservation to a different state park, were halted Tuesday as park officials considered turning water back on during weekends.

With the decision to resume weekend water service, Taylor said the call center would resume calls to people with weekday reservations and continue offering either a refund or a reservation transfer. Those with weekend reservations who were already called with information about the water curtailment will be called back with updated information, he added.

So far, visitors have been understanding about the water curtailment in light of the drought, Parker said.

In the meantime, park officials are continuing to re-evaluate the river flow in hopes it will pick up soon.

“We’d love to have it up as soon as possible, but it’s out of our hands,” Parker said. “We’re just taking it day by day and re-evaluating weekly.”

“It’s unfortunate, but we’re hoping for rain like everyone else,” he added.

 

Update: Drought Easing in Portions of the West

August 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The current drought monitor map shows some moderation in the drought-stricken areas of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, parts of Texas and New Mexico.

Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (Aug. 8-11) temperatures will continue to remain below normal over most of the country, with departures of 6-9 degrees Fahrenheit anticipated over the Plains and West Coast. Above-normal temperatures are expected in the southern United States and the northern Rocky Mountains. A wet pattern is likely to continue over much of Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri and into Kentucky and Tennessee. The forecast is anticipating amounts of 3 inches over most of Kansas and western Kentucky. Dry conditions are projected over most of the western United States and into Texas.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (Aug. 11-15) anticipates the best chances for below-normal temperatures will be over the Plains, Midwest and Northeast, with the best chances for below-normal temperatures in the Great Lakes region. The best chances for above-normal temperatures will be in the southern United States, Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Most of the country has above-normal chances of recording above-normal precipitation during this time frame. The greatest chances of above-normal precipitation will be over the Southeast. The Great Basin, Southwest and most of Texas have the best chances of recording below-normal precipitation for the period.

 

Report: Drought Eases in Central Plains States

August 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Summary: Cooler than normal conditions along with a wet week allowed for improvements in the drought status over several central Plains states. The seasonal monsoon continues to be active in the Southwest, but many of the rain events have been spotty. Rain continues to fall over most of the eastern United States, with only a few areas of drought east of the Missouri River.

Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (July 31-Aug. 4) temperatures will continue to be cool over much of the United States, with departures from normal in the 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit range over the Northeast, Midwest, northern Plains and West Coast. The warmest temperatures are expected over the South. The active rain pattern will continue over much of the eastern half of the United States. Rainfall of more than an inch is projected over areas from Nebraska eastward, including much of the East Coast. The monsoon rainfalls over the desert Southwest will likely continue into next week. Most of the West and Texas are expected to stay dry during this time.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (Aug. 5-9) The best chances for cooler than normal temperatures will be over the central and northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast, with the best chances for above normal temperatures in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the southern Plains. There are good chances for above normal precipitation over much of the eastern half of the United States, with the best chances in the central Plains. The best chances for below normal precipitation are in southern Texas and the Great Basin of the western United States.

Rains Continuing in Drought-Ridden West/SW

July 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Weather Summary: A broad upper-level ridge brought above-normal temperatures to the northern half of the United States during this July 23 U.S. Drought Monitor week. Troughs moving in this upper-level flow pushed cold fronts which brought areas of rain east of the Rockies along with outbreaks of cooler air to the northern states. An upper-level low retrograding beneath the ridge brought below-normal temperatures and locally heavy rain to the southern Plains and reinforced the Southwest monsoon.

Looking Ahead: During the next six days (July 24-29), an upper-level trough with associated cool front will dominate the weather east of the Rockies, bringing below-normal temperatures and areas of rain. Half an inch or more of precipitation is forecast from the Plains to the East Coast, except for the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and southern Texas, where very little rain will fall. An inch or more may fall from the western Great Lakes to Nebraska, and from Arkansas to Mississippi, bringing relief to the newly expanded D0 areas, as well as from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic coastal areas. The heaviest rains (2 inches or more) are forecast for parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. Monsoon rains are predicted to continue for the Southwest to central Rockies states, with up to an inch across much of New Mexico and Colorado.

Otherwise, above-normal temperatures are forecast for the West beneath an upper-level ridge with little to no rainfall for the Northwest and coastal California.

The NWS 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts (for July 30-August 7) show the highest likelihood of above-normal precipitation for the northern Plains to Great Lakes, then extending down to the Southeast, and the highest likelihood for below-normal precipitation from the Pacific Northwest to the southern Plains.

Above-normal temperatures are expected for the Southwest into western Texas, and for coastal New England, while below-normal temperatures are anticipated for the Southeast, northern Plains to western Great Lakes, and coastal Northwest. The southern two-thirds of Alaska should be warmer and drier than normal with the north wetter than normal.

 

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