A Hopeful, but Cautious, Spring Outlook for the Brazos Valley

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With the Brazos Valley and State of Texas in the midst of a "10 Year Drought" -- the Spring and Summer outlook brings signs of hope, but also a word of warning.

Jay Wilder, a farmer and Rancher in Burleson County, has been working the Brazos Bottom soil all of his life. It doesn't take long for the drought conditions of 2011 to come up in conversation -- which he will tell you was unbearable and something he would not want to see again.

Wilder planted wheat back in November. The multiple freeze, frost, and ice events that the Brazos Valley experienced this winter has been pretty tough on the crop.

While tough, not devastating. What would be -- another spring season with a lack of rainfall. Wilder says, "two inches of rain Friday night would be perfect. If you could make it rain every Friday -- one and a half inches -- that would be great!"

Away from the elements, and about 130 miles to the south, Charles Roeseler -- Senior Meteorologist with the National Weather Service -- is watching signs in the Pacific Ocean that have direct impacts on what the Brazos Valley producers put in and take out of the ground.

Roeseler will tell you, "we have some warming in the Pacific Ocean. With those waters warming, that puts us in the El Nino signal."

El Nino for Southeast Texas typically means a warmer and drier than average summer. The spring outlook is expected to warm up a bit -- good news after many months, this winter, with below average temperatures. The hope is that El Nino can hold off long enough to bring average, or above average, rainfall to Texas before cutting off needed moisture heading into the summer months.

Our extended forecast also comes with a word of cautious optimism from Roeseler: "Winter could offer some additional hope of extra rainfall...but that is a long ways out. Worry about summer, first, before worrying about next winter."

Back in Wilder's wheat field, he'll tell you it is not always a big abundance of rainfall that is needed, but rather timely rains to get area producers through the next several months.

The Southern Brazos Valley is in a Moderate Drought -- as of the second to last week of February. Spring is typically "make-or-break" season to stay on track for yearly rainfall.