2017 Ends in Drought Conditions

Despite above average precipitation, all of the High Plains Water District (HPWD) service area was experiencing drought conditions at the end of 2017. Most of the District is currently under moderate drought status, while parts of Lubbock, Hockley, Lamb, Hale, Lynn, Floyd and Crosby Counties are classified with severe drought conditions.

Much of the 2017 precipitation was received throughout the first nine months of the year. As for Lubbock County,  nearly 60 days have passed without measurable precipitation, which makes this one of the top 15 extended dry spells on record (since 1911). The last measurable precipitation for Lubbock County was 0.03” on November 8. The last precipitation totaling at least a quarter of an inch was 0.35” on October 6.

Without any precipitation in the forecast, this could easily become one of the top 10 longest dry spells on record.

KCBD Meteorologist Steve Divine provided the following information about the top 15 longest dry spells in Lubbock.

As noted earlier, most of the HPWD service area received above average rainfall in 2017. Castro County had the largest deviation from the annual precipitation average.  It received 26.47 inches of rain last year, which is more than 13 inches above average.

So what is in store for 2018?

The dry La Niña pattern is expected to stick around through April, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Divine said precipitation through the summer will likely be below average. Fall and winter 2018 precipitation may trend toward average. Temperatures are expected to be above average for 2018 as a whole.

Water conservation is especially important during these dry times!

  • Be aware of your local landscape irrigation ordinances, and abide by them. Make sure your lawn irrigation system is off during the winter.
  • Check for leaks around your home and repair them. A dripping faucet or leaking toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water each month.
  • Take shorter showers. Keep your shower to five minutes or less.
  • When brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving, turn the water off until it is time to rinse.
  • Install high-efficiency shower heads, faucet aerators and toilets. Newer models require less water.


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