Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rain Be Gone!

By Kathy Whaley

As this is being written, the sky is blue and the wind is howling a brisk, cool breeze. Even with the wind, the blue skies are a very welcomed sight! Taking a look back at Hagerman NWR in 2015, the first thing that comes to mind is all of the water we had to endure. In May alone, the refuge recorded 28.51 inches of rain. Compared to all of 2014 (23.56 inches) that was A LOT of rain! Most all roads were closed from early May through mid-August.

June 1, 2015 - Photo from Refuge Files
Then, a couple of days after Thanksgiving, the roads flooded again and have been closed all but a few days since then. 
Flooding approaches accessible loop of Harris Creek Trail, January 6, 2016
The good news is that Lake Texoma will be below 620 msl (mean sea level) soon (the elevation of Wildlife Drive) and is expected to reach its normal winter pool of 617 msl on January 31st.  Click to follow the changing lake level (information from the US Army Corps of Engineers).

What will the rest of winter and this spring look like? We are waiting anxiously to find out. According to (the website used by the Corps of Engineers to obtain weather forecasts), temperatures for the next three months are expected to be near normal while there is a 40% chance of above normal precipitation. Then, according to a January 14th report from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, the strong El NiƱo currently in place is expected to gradually weaken through spring 2016, and to transition to more normal conditions during late spring or early summer. Let’s keep our fingers crossed they are correct!

A few things we know for sure: 1) we can’t control the weather; 2) the Corps does their best to release as much water as possible during periods of flood, but they must take into consideration downstream conditions which sometimes means we are flooded longer than we wish we were; 3) eventually, the water level will return to normal, debris will be removed from refuge roads, and needed repairs will be made. The refuge staff would like everyone to know they have missed having their regular visitors on Wildlife Drive and are happy to have the road cleared and open once again!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that we will get to come and take pictures of the birds