Floods: The Texas Two-Step

Flooded Fields

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When Texas decides to end a drought, there are no half-measures. The Texas and Southern Great Plain drought is ending with record floods. The weather is doing the springtime Texas two-step and a lot of areas are getting trampled!

What a Difference a Month Makes!

The map below shows the weather on May 5. Note the dark-colored dry and drought regions.

The next map shows the weather on May 26. The month of May brought tremendous rain in the Great Plains and now there are no severe drought and very few moderate drought areas in the Southern or Central Plains.

California and the South can’t seem to get a break, though, and will continue to be arid until winter. Normally, springtime rains arrive in the Southern Plains in May. 

MAP SOURCE: Browning World Climate Bulletin

May is when the summer monsoon rains from the Gulf of Mexico start to flow into the state. The monsoon started and Texas started to get its normal rainfall. Because Texas and Oklahoma are being hit by two weather effects at once the drought relief is coming with ferocious flooding. Anyone who has seen Tag-Team Wrestling knows how devastating a double-team move can be.

At the same time in the Pacific, the El Niño finally switched into full-strength mode. The Pacific is now almost 2°F warmer than average throughout the Central and Eastern tropical waters. This typically sends heavy rainfall to the South during spring.

The rain of Spain (whoopsthe US) fell mainly in the Plains. Source: NOAA

The El Niño storm track crashed into the Texas spring monsoon and it has gotten very messy. According to the National Weather Service, 37.3 trillion gallons of water have fallen onto the state in May, enough to cover the entire state with eight inches of water. The soil is so saturated that there is no place for the water to go but over the banks of the rivers. Sadly, at least 28 people have died in Texas and Oklahoma combined.

Our heartfelt best wishes go out to our readers. Fortunately, experts say the weather dance is almost finished and some areas are already seeing sunshine. We are glad the drought is ending and we hope you avoided flood damage.

If you or yours were involved, please post here. This is the ideal place to discuss the weather.

Thank you.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to "Weather Whispers" by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather--from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these blog posts. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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