Hope for Temporary Relief From Drought Conditions - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/17/06

Hope for Temporary Relief From Drought Conditions

Lubbock could see relief this weekend from the recent dry conditions, but the question that still remains; why is it taking so long for it to rain? NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire went in search of the answer.

Since October 9th, the last day Lubbock had significant rainfall, National Weather Service meteorologists have been waiting to see any signs of precipitation. And now for the first time in 158 days they see a change.

"Significant" rainfall means .25 inches or more. The grey clouds are moving in and that's how much rain National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Brian LaMarre predicts we could receive this weekend. "We're really happy to see moisture increasing and we're getting some much needed rainfall in the area," he said.

LaMarre also says you can blame the extreme dry pattern we've experienced over the past five months partly on one thing. "We're actually moving into what we call a La Nina weather pattern," said LaMarre.

La Nina means cooler water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean force precipitation over and around West Texas, whereas warmer water temperatures in El Nino allow storm systems to travel right through our area.

La Nina also means we can expect above average temperatures and below average rainfall at least until early summer. "This part of West Texas is known for receiving the most severe weather in the country," said LaMarre.

Last year 26 tornadoes ripped through West Texas, the area usually experiences 17 tornadoes a year. LaMarre says last year was one of the most active severe weather seasons on record because we were transitioning from an El Nino period to La Nina. He says this year won't be as severe but says you should still be prepared.

"I don't want that to be a deterrent to keeping awareness high because like I said, it only takes that one storm to impact someone and we don't want to see another May 5th, 1970 happening," cautioned LaMarre.

Making a Kit for an Emergency Situation
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.

The City of Lubbock implemented stage one of its drought contingency plan in January because of the dry conditions. It's voluntary and suggestions include setting your sprinkler system to avoid runoff, washing cars where water is re-circulated and considering using energy saving appliances.

If conditions continue to stay dry throughout the summer, stage two will be put in place. City officials say stage two would be strictly enforced.

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