Texas weather conditions emerged from one of the hottest, driest summers on record into the wettest two-month period on record, according to the Texas state climatologist.
John Nielsen-Gammon reported statewide temperatures from May through August were tied for the second hottest on record, and summer 2018 was also drier, with statewide precipitation levels through August running 3 inches below average, ranking the year to date as the 27th driest on record.
But conditions changed drastically beginning in September, which he said was the fourth wettest month statewide on record with 6.77 inches of rainfall on average. October was even wetter with over 7 inches of rain on average, which made it the second wettest month on record.
“Already at the end of October Texas has received more rainfall than it receives on average in an entire year,” Nielsen-Gammon said.
The high rainfall amounts in September and October made it easily the wettest two-month period on record, he said.
“It’s fairly common to follow droughts with heavy rainfall,” he said. “That happened in 1957 and 2015 where you had extended drought followed by rain and flooding.”
Of the 10 climatic regions around the state, Nielsen-Gammon said four had stations that recorded more than 30 inches of rain over the past 60 days. Some notable observations include, 45.03 inches near Galveston - the highest reported total; 32.65 inches in Madisonville; 33.65 in Bonham (North Texas); 31.65 inches near Rock Springs; 24.24 in Haskell (Low Rolling Plains); 22.38 in San Antonio; 18.27 in Harlingen; and 15.3 inches in Tahoka.
One important exception was Amarillo, which received 4.64 inches and remained one of the drought areas in the state along with parts of the Trans Pecos region, Nielsen-Gammon said.
“The last 60 days has pretty much wiped out all of the color from the drought monitor map for most of the state,” he said.
Nielsen-Gammon said the state didn’t catch any rain from Atlantic tropical storms but caught significant rains from Pacific tropical storms that made their way through Mexico and into Texas. This year was the most active East Pacific hurricane season ever, which typically allows for significant rainfall from thunderstorms in Texas.
Texas also experienced a few cold fronts that stalled out across the state bringing repeated rain activity day after day, he said.