By BRAD KELLAR
Another significant rain event is in the forecast for this weekend, but it remains to be seen whether enough precipitation will fall to lift Hunt County out of a severe drought, or lead to the removal of water usage restrictions and a ban on outdoor burning in Hunt County.
Although the heavy rains which fell across the region September 20 resulted in dozens of counties lifting their burn bans, as of Friday evening Hunt, Collin, Fannin, Lamar and Rockwall counties remained under bans on outdoor burning, due to the continuing drought.
Hunt County been under a on outdoor burning since August 12. Under the ban no outdoor burning is permitted in the unincorporated areas of the county, including the burning of household garbage.
The order does not restrict the outdoor use of welding, cutting torches and other similar tools, provided a separate individual is present to observe for fires and sparks and to have some type of fire extinguisher present. The order does not prohibit outdoor cooking but it does restrict the cooking activities to an enclosed apparatus, designed for cooking purposes.
Many areas of Hunt County received more than two inches of rain last week and the forecast for the upcoming weekend calls for close to another two inches of precipitation between early this morning and Sunday afternoon.
Hunt County remains under severe drought conditions, according to the latest readings for the United States Drought Monitor.
A reading of 800 under the Keetch-Byram Drought Index is the highest on the scale, meaning that it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation. Hunt County’s readings under the index as of Friday afternoon ranged from 380 to 684 with an average across the county of 604.
The level on Lake Tawakoni Friday was listed at 428.03 feet, down 8.65 feet below the spillway and approaching the all-time lowest level seen on reservoir — 424.9 feet — which was recorded on Dec. 29, 2006.
Lake Tawakoni was reported to be 67 percent full Friday. One year ago, the level on Lake Tawakoni was listed at 434.08 feet and the reservoir was 86 percent full.
The City of Greenville remains under Stage 2 water restrictions. Landscape irrigation is limited to Sundays and Thursdays for customers with a street address ending in an even number and Saturdays and Wednesdays for customers with a street address ending in an odd number. Landscape irrigation is permitted at anytime with a hand-held hose, a faucet filled bucket or watering can of five gallons or less, or a drip irrigation system.
Cities served by the North Texas Municipal Water District are currently under Stage 3 outdoor watering restrictions, which means residential and business customers are limited to landscape watering with sprinkler or irrigation systems once every seven days. Other restrictions apply, depending on the city.