The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

October 5, 2013

County remains under moderate drought

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — The National Weather Service was calling for a chance of light rain in the area overnight, as a front was forecast to cross into North Texas.

The cooler temperatures are certainly a nice change, but it is unlikely the precipitation which does fall will be sufficient to lift Hunt County out of drought conditions or to remove the water usage restrictions which are still in place across the region.

However it may enough to prompt the Hunt County Commissioners Court to lift the county’s ban on outdoor burning.

After Hunt County Judge John Horn issued an emergency order Aug. 12, instituting a burn ban in the county as a result of severe drought conditions and an increased danger of grass fires, the Hunt County Commissioners Court voted to renew the ban for 90 days on Aug. 20 and only the commissioners can vote to remove the ban.

The commissioners are set to consider whether to lift the ban during Tuesday’s regular session, scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Auxiliary Courtroom, 2700 Johnson Street in Greenville.

While recent rains have helped improve conditions, Hunt County was still listed under a moderate drought as of Friday afternoon.

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 ranged from 381 to 578 with an average across the county of 505.

 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.

The rains have also done little to refresh area lakes and reservoirs.

The level on Lake Tawakoni Friday was listed at 428.74 feet, down 8.76 feet below the spillway.. Lake Tawakoni was reported to be 66.6 percent full Friday.

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.