As we’ve discussed the ongoing Texas drought 2014, we have been fortunate enough to experience some steady rains in May and June through the Abilene and Big Country area. Other regions of Texas have also received strong spurts of rainfall, some lasting for days. Storm fronts have been a blessing to us, but have been the impact of recent Texas rains to the ongoing drought been significant enough to make a difference?
Areas of Abilene received between 1 and 6 inches of rainfall over a 2-day period in late May/early June. Other areas saw up to 11 inches of water pour into lakes and spillways. Immediately this surge of water does make a difference in the big picture for water levels. How long will that difference last is another issue. The state cannot continue to have intermittent rainfall that hits every 3-5 months and expect to climb out of the long-suffering of the drought. Continued water conservation methods must remain in use for the entirety of our state and especially in West Texas. This is important during a Texas drought.
West Texas lakes, spillways, tanks, and other water sources continue to be below recommended levels despite recent rains. The rains certainly have helped improve conditions, but the effects of the drastic decline in rainfall will need more steady and consistent rains to truly dig us out. According to the National Weather Service, the regions of Amarillo and Lubbock received more rainfall May 22nd and 23rd (of 2014) than they had all year long. That is very significant rainfall. However, the influx of rain did not break the ongoing drought (now in its fourth year). Though days later the grass would be lush and green, the lack of rainfall made conditions during the rains dangerous for many, including flooding across the region on area roads and other locations.
In 2011 Texas had its driest year of recent record, and until May of this year the state was on track to mirror that result. With storms that brought over a day of rain to most of the state in late May, and more in early June, the record low rainfall levels stalled. However, areas of the state need between 15-20 inches of rain to fall to completely lift Texas out of the ongoing drought. That rainfall needs to come over a continued period of time and certainly not all at once. If close to two feet of rain were to fall over a period of three or four days, terrible flooding would occur as well as other damage to homes and properties. The best case scenario we can hope for is periods of continued rain lasting several hours at a time, stretched out every few days for the next few months. These are conditions we can hope for, but certainly are not absolute or expected.
In the meantime it is vital for our residents to continue saving and conserving water. Check out our previous blog entries for tips on how you can conserve water to save on your utility bills and preserve the precious water resources we still have.