Despite the recent rain, weather experts continue to say we remain in the worst drought in the state’s history since 2011, as most of Texas remains hot and dry.
But Texas is now entering a new weather pattern for most of the rest of this month, according to Matt Lanza, managing editor and meteorologist for Space City Weather.
The pattern that we’ve had all summer – a stagnant area of high pressure that’s kept us hot and dry – seems to have broken down a little bit, Lanza said, and we’ve had a little bit of a change that’s allowing for some more moisture and some slightly cooler temperatures.
“And so what it’s led to is some some rainfall. And that will kind of continue at times across much of the central, southern and eastern parts of the state,” Lanza said. “We’ll have at least chances of showers and thunderstorms on a lot of days going forward, which is definitely a different than what we saw in June and July.”
A good chunk of Texas will see at least 1 to 3 inches of rain – but it’s also possible for heavier pockets of rain to move over the same places, or come down at two or three inches an hour, Lanza said.
“And then you get some places that end up with six, seven, eight inches of rainfall in, you know, three or four hours, and that causes some street flooding,” Lanza said. “So that’s going to be kind of what we have to watch. Even in a drought, that’s something that happens; you can’t really control the rate of the rain. But for everybody, hopefully at least a couple of inches of very beneficial rainfall.”
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But will that beneficial rainfall get us out of a drought?
“So droughts don’t automatically end once it rains, right,” Lanza said. “So you have sort of a short-term drought and a long-term drought. The long-term drought is what we’ve dealt with with agriculture, with some water supply issues in parts of the state. That takes a little bit of time to kind of ease. So you’re going to need a good bit more rainfall than just what we’re getting over the next couple of weeks.
“But the short-term drought – the stuff that has led to a lot of the wildfires and things like that across the state – that will ease a bit in places that see rainfall. It doesn’t necessarily end things, but it certainly will help things for the time being. We’ll see if the drought will end over the next couple of months. It takes a little bit of time for that to happen.”
That rain also means a wetter soil that can help cool temperatures a little bit, particularly in places that see a lot of precipitation, Lanza said.
“You know, I don’t know that we’ve seen the last of 100-degree days for the year,” Lanza said. “You’ll probably have some relief for some parts of the state. And, you know, really the bigger driver in all that is just the fact that the weather patterns change. So as long as we stay in this sort of cooler pattern that we’re in nationally for Texas, you know, that will help keep those hundreds at bay.”
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And so far, hurricane season – which was projected to be especially active this year – is actually running about 15% of normal, Lanza said.
“So either things are really going to get crazy over the next few weeks, or we’re going to end up not having as active a season as we feared,” Lanza said. “And I’m wondering if it’s going to be the latter, because, you know, over the next couple of weeks at least, yes, it does look like things pick up – as they always do in late August and early September across the Atlantic basin – but at this point in time, there’s no reason to think that any of those particular systems that may develop are going to make their way into the Gulf. Everybody should be paying attention and be prepared just in case things do change, but for now, things look about as good as they can for late August.”