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Hoping for a Hurricane? Central Texas Needs Rain

U.S. Drought Monitor

The new U.S. Drought Monitor map shows Central Texas is getting drier. In just a little over a month, parts of Travis and Williamson Counties have moved from “abnormally dry” to “extreme drought.”

It’s been more than six weeks since the Austin area's seen a good rain.

"For the period from May 16 to July 5, a period of almost 7 weeks, the Austin area has seen only 0.44 of an inch," Victor Murphy, National Weather Service Regional Climate Service program manager, writes via email. "This is the driest such period on record there in Austin in over 100 years (since 1911).  Normal for this period should be about six inches.  Thus, Austin has received less than 10 percent of normal rainfall during what should be one of the wettest time of the year." 

Some meteorologists believe a weak tropical storm or tropical depression would be our best bet for getting some precipitation.

Bob Rose is the chief meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says the forecast doesn’t show any activity like that in the gulf in the next week or so, but we may have another opportunity for some moisture.

“The forecast models indicate that a weak cold front is going to sag south into Central Texas sometime in the middle portion of the week and our forecast models are indicating that this front may bring a decent chance of rain to our region," Rose says. "So with the absence of a tropical storm, there may be some other features like this unusual front or maybe just a weak tropical wave that may bring us some rain from time to time and that we’re not necessarily looking at a bone-dry forecast now through the end of August.”

Though the last several weeks have been abnormally dry, we did see an unusual amount of rain earlier in the year. And Murphy says, no matter how you look at it, more rain now would be helpful.

"Not getting rainfall when you should be is not a good thing when trying to come out of long term drought and also not a good thing when you are combating summer time heat," Murphy writes.

Whiledrought conditions may continue to get worse over the course of the summer, we are expecting an El Nino weather pattern which could bring wetter conditions to Texas starting around October.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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