Category: Drought


The Sleepy Hollow fire near the north-central Washington State city of Wenatchee started in the afternoon of June 28, 2015. The cause is unknown but natural causes have been ruled out, leaving intentional or accidental human-origin causes to blame. Unseasonably high temperatures, early drought conditions, and high fuel loads have elevated fire risk in the area much earlier in the summer than normal. The fire started outside the city, but wind drove it into residential areas of this city of 33,000. Hundreds of residents were evacuated. It has burned 2950 acres and has destroyed 29 primary residences. Embers blew into the commercial business district and subsequent fires destroyed four businesses; some were large agricultural processing or storage warehouses, raising concerns about hazardous material involvement. Those areas have been secured and hazardous materials contained.

The Chelan WA County Commissioners have issued an emergency declaration of the area as a high danger area, banning all outdoor burning and the use of fireworks. Some roads are restricted to local resident and emergency use only. The evacuation center has been moved from a high school to a church.  The BNSF rail line (a major NW transportation corridor) was closed but has been re-opened.

The number of firefighting personnel involved with this fire is 336; they are primarily volunteers. They have incurred a few injuries including heat exhaustion; no injuries to the public have been reported. With limited numbers of firefighters available, four days of firefighting already, and new fires reported in the area, firefighting personnel is stretched to the limit. With the Sleepy Hollow fire 47% contained as of the evening of June 30 evening, some are being re-deployed to other emerging fire situations.

The majority of efforts have switched from response to recovery, assisting those who have lost their homes and businesses. A local footwear business is offering free shoes to all fire victims. A fruit packing business offered its facilities to a competitor whose fruit packing facility was destroyed, thereby helping the business continue operating during fruit harvest season. These responses demonstrate that even during periods of drought and wildfires, human hearts can contain bottomless wellsprings of compassion and hope.

–Submitted by Susan Kerr, WA State EDEN Delegate

 


The Climate Prediction Center recently issued its 90-day outlook for temperature and precipitation for the U.S. It also updated the drought monitor tool.

off01_tempIn general the outlook calls for the next three months to feature above normal temperatures in the western third of the country and in the far southeastern states. Alaska and the Pacific Northwest will also be warmer than usual. Below normal temperatures are confined to much of Texas and areas of adjoining states. Most of the country will see an equal chance for above or below normal temperatures.

 

off01_prcpMuch of the nation may experience above normal precipitation from the southeast through the gulf states to the western plains and Rockies along with a good portion of Alaska. The above normal rainfall may bring drought relief to Texas and the four corners area. The Great Lakes states will see below normal precipitation and the potential of a developing drought. Lake levels and fire danger may be impacted.

 

drought 90The drought monitor shows little change in the near term for the hardest hit areas of the west, parts of Texas, and parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Over the 90 day period of the outlook, the drought may ease in Texas and areas northwest of there. However, drought conditions may expand in the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, little or no relief is seen for California.  Just this week water use restrictions of from 8% to 36% were enacted for some municipalities.

Late breaking news.  Tornadoes in Germany!

There was a fairly broad outbreak of severe weather including tornadoes in Germany on Tuesday, May 5.  Here’s coverage from the British newspaper, The Guardian.


NOAA’s Climate Center has issued its 2015 Spring Outlook covering flood potential, precipitation, temperature and drought through the April-June period. The flood outlook is for mid-March to Mid-May.

FloodRiskOutlook_2015_610

NOAA Climate Center

According to the outlook, the greatest potential for Spring flooding is in the Northeast along with a portion of the lower Missouri River and other nearby rivers and streams in parts of southern Illinois, southwest Indiana and far northern Kentucky. The near term potential is being driven by snow melt. That melt will also influence the somewhat longer term in that soil moisture will be above average to far above average in those areas.

NOAA Climate Center

NOAA Climate Center

As for temperatures, much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation will experience near-normal temperatures with the West Coast being much above normal. Only portions of Texas and New Mexico are forecast to be below normal.

The outlook calls for above-normal precipitation in the Southeast and the Four-corners area with below normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The rest of the country will be near normal.

NOAA Climate Center

NOAA Climate Center

Drought conditions will continue or worsen in much of the western third of the country and drought may also spread from Minnesota into Wisconsin.  The drought will improve in eastern New Mexico and Oklahoma.  40% of California is already in an exceptional drought and the predicted hot temperatures and lack of precipitation will exacerbate that situation.

The precipitation and drought outlooks bode ill for the upcoming fire season.

As always, the long term outlook comes with a caveat that specific weather systems can always cause additional flooding and other impacts so readers should always stay alert.


Posted on September 17th, 2013 in Communication, Drought

The heavy flooding in Denver and surrounding areas have temporarily focused national attention on Colorado. In the meantime, the EDEN Drought Team continues to focus on #drought recovery and mitigation resources.

 

September 10, 2013 drought map

On Tuesday, September 24, the Extension Disaster Education Network (@EDENTweets) will host its inaugural tweet chat. The one-hour chat, Managing #Drought, will begin at 3 PM Central, 2 PM Mountain Time.

Co-hosts are New Mexico State University Extension, the National Drought Mitigation Center (@DroughtCenter) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the National Integrated Drought Information System (@Drought_Info).

The chat will provide an opportunity to share resources that can help people and communities respond to an ongoing #drought or reduce vulnerability to future #drought.

Follow and join the conversation on Twubs.com (hashtag #drought).

We look forward to chatting with you!


Today’s weekly U.S. Drought Monitor update shows that roughly 62 percent of the continental U.S. remains in some form of drought, unchanged from the previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July.  Nearly 22 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That’s up a half of a percentage point from a week earlier.

This update does not consider the current storm going through the center of the country.

 

Kim Cassel


A reminder of the  Ag in Uncertain Times webinar Friday December 7, 2012, 12:00 Eastern/11:00 Central/10:00 Mountain/9:00 Pacific  — Tax and Financial Risks Due to Drought and Disaster

The webinar is part of a series by the North Central Risk Management Education Center and co-hosted by the Agriculture and Applied  Economics Section (Extension Section)  and is being hosted by Montana State University Technology at this link – http://msuextensionconnect.org/aginuncertaintimes

 

The third webinar is set for January 22, 2013 and will address strategies for the coming production year with uncertain institutional, production, and market risks.

Kim Cassel         Dec 7 AgInUncertainTimes_FLYER


From the North Central Risk Management Education Center:

AG In Uncertain Times webinar: Managing Drought and Disaster Impacts

Droughts and natural disasters have caused widespread effects across the farm economy this past year by increasing price volatility and production risk, as well as increasing financial uncertainty. These risks directly affect farms and ranches impacted by the natural disaster but also producers far removed are affected by reduced input supplies and price increases. A three part webinar series will present issues concerning managing drought and disaster impacts.

The first webinar was November 20 and addressed  livestock issues. Presentations and presenters include:

Market Outlooks for Cattle, Dairy, Forage and Feed

Erika Rosa-Sanko and Katelyn McCullock (Livestock Marketing Information Center)

Feeding Risks from Drought Impacted Feeds and Forages

Dr. Rachel Endecott (Montana State University)

Should I Buy Hay or Sell Cows – Jeffrey Tranel (Colorado State University)

To view click here

 

Kim Cassel