Drought Forum Predicts Wet Season

- More rainfall would definitely be welcome just about everywhere in Texoma. But even with lots more rain, it may not be enough to even reduce the exceptional drought level we have been in for so long. That may take a reversal of a major weather pattern.

At a public drought forum Tuesday, weather experts discussed that possibility as well as giving analysis on the severity of this drought.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say this drought is Wichita Falls' worst drought by far. But they say weather patterns including changes in El Nino could help while Texoma residents continue to watch every drop they use.

Texoma city officials and residents packed the MPEC hoping to get to get a better idea of when the record drought may end.

“The worst the drought is, the harder it is to get out of it. It's inch by inch if you will, we have to crawl out of it,  says Klaus Wolter with NOAA.

But experts say a forecasted return of a major weather pattern could be our best bet at getting back to normal rainfall

“In general it's optimistic and it has been 5 years. It's been a long time since we had a serious El Nino event,” says Wolter.

If El Nino finally boots La Nina out of the weather pattern, it would mean milder winters and more rain. And that change is predicted for the fall.

“Hopefully by the time, September, October, this wet signal that I described really kicks in,” says Wolter.

But until if and when El Nino makes a return, Wichita Falls officials have more ideas on saving what water we have, including a possible way to reduce how much water we lose under the hot Texoma sun.

Wichita Falls is using about 12 million gallons of water a day, but city officials say our lakes lose at least double that amount everyday in evaporation.

So city officials are looking into buying a polymer solution that could reduce the water that vanishes into the air.

“It's a material that you apply to the surface of the lake that is supposed to reduce the evaporation and save a lot of water,” says Wichita Falls City Manager Darron Leiker.

Whether it would be affordable and effective remains to be seen. Details on that plan are expected to be released later this week and voted on at the July 1st city council meeting.

So for now we will just have to wait to see if El Nino will come to the rescue this fall and winter. If not, the worst case scenario, without this El Nino, you would probably look at another 2,3,4 years of it.

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