Rainfall amounts double statewide average since April 1

From AgriLife Today

COLLEGE STATION – April showers delivered moisture around the state, but so far May has been one for the ages when it comes to rainfall, said the Texas State Climatologist.

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon said rainfall amounts have been more than double normal, averaging more than 7 inches, due to several lines of storms across the state since April 1. The drought monitor showed all parts of the state had received enough moisture to leave “drought” status, though some areas are still “abnormally dry.”

“We were below normal in some areas for the first few months of 2019, but April showers brought us up to normal for the calendar year,” he said. “In the past 30 days, most of the state received two to four times normal rainfall, and that includes areas like the Pecos River to Northeast Texas.”

The first 12 days of May were among the 10 wettest from west central to north central, central, southeast and northeast Texas, and were the wettest start to May on record for Austin, College Station and Tyler.

Tyler experienced its wettest 12-month period ending May 12 in 105 years, he said, and Dallas experienced its second wettest in 120 years over the same period. Many other areas around the state also recorded some of their highest recorded 12-month rainfall amounts in more than a century during the same time.

Nielsen-Gammon said parts of Far West and South Texas had received less than average precipitation over the past 30 days. Cameron County, for example, has received near-average amounts over the last 90 days, but only one quarter of its average rainfall, while the rest of the state deals with deluges.

Saturated soils, standing water and major flooding have been reported in many parts of the state, according to county reports. Wet conditions have caused delays to fieldwork and crop planting. Flooding has caused crop losses in some areas.

“Most river gauges in East Texas showed at least minor flooding,” he said. “The Brazos and

Trinity rivers reached major flood stages and many areas in Southeast Texas, including Houston and Beaumont, received a lot of rain, 10-20 inches over seven days.”

On the positive side, Nielsen-Gammon said rains were key for  keeping summer temperatures relatively mild.

“The longer the rains persist, the better the outlook for avoiding extreme heat in the summertime,” he said.

Statewide, temperatures have been within a few degrees of normal high and low temperatures, he said. Daytime temperatures were slightly higher and nighttime temperatures were slightly lower on average in the Panhandle and High Plains this spring.

“We’ve gotten used to drier-than-normal Mays, so when we get a wet one it really stands out,” he said.

El Nino weather patterns may bring a wet winter

From AgriLife Today

COLLEGE STATION – Texas is emerging from one of the hottest, driest summers on record, but the long-term forecast suggests winter and spring will be wet, according to the state climatologist.

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon in College Station said statewide temperatures from May through August were the third hottest on record.

This summer was also drier, with precipitation levels more than 2.5 inches below average for the state, ranking this year as the 29th driest on record.

But that could change soon, Nielsen-Gammon said.

Nielsen-Gammon said long-term forecasts call for El Niño weather patterns through winter and spring. El Niño weather patterns typically mean above-average rainfall, especially for southern parts of Texas.

“September is already off to a good start,” he said. “It’s not good for cotton producers, but much of the state has received moisture in the last few weeks.”

Nielsen-Gammon said 5 to 15 inches of rain had fallen between Del Rio and San Antonio in the past week and that much of Central Texas picked up two inches or more during that same time with forecasts calling for more precipitation to follow.

“It looks like wet tropical patterns will contribute more moisture,” he said. “It also looks like things may be drying out a little following the rains, but Texas can expect more consistent rain into the fall, winter and spring as the El Niño patterns strengthen.”

Whether warmer or colder temperatures will accompany the El Niño pattern is a toss-up, Nielsen-Gammon said.

While cooler temperatures typically accompany precipitation, factors associated with climate change will mitigate the overall effect of those weather events.

“At this point, it looks like equal chances of having above- and below-average temperatures,” he said.