As I have hiked this summer, I am surely seeing the effects of not having any rain. I know I know it’s flooding in Kentucky, and Flooding in Denver………..but in central Texas as well as most of the rest of the state we have got squat for rain this summer. 99% of Texas is in some form of drought with Central Texas and the Hill Country in extreme to exceptional drought conditions.
The last measurable rain in Austin fell on June 28th and that was 1.23 inches. Doesn’t sound bad but before that it hadn’t rained since May 26th and that was only .19 inches. July skies yielded no rain. Zilch. Austin should have nearly 22 inches of rain by now for the year but has only about twelve. Yes, it’s dry and to add insult to injury we have had 58 days this summer over 100*. Right now, Austin and central Texas are on track for the hottest summer since records have been kept.
And Texas is burning. I didn’t know this, but Texas has the second most wildfires in the country behind only California. Texas averages 900 wildfires a year: this includes even the small spot fires. To date this year the Forestry Department at Texas A&M University which is charged with recording activity and assisting in putting out fires says Texas has had 7500 fires to date. Again, these have ranged from small spot fires to the behemoth at Chalk Mountain in Somervell County, that burned over ten square miles.
I was recently at Colorado Bend State Park and the spring fed Gorman Falls the state’s tallest continuous waterfall is barely running.
A young lady I was talking to online after posting some pictures on my hiking facebook group says that the Colorado looks to be lower than the drought of 2011 when her family had to sell all their cattle because they had no water for them.
The Colorado is the lifeblood of Central Texas. It provides most of the cities with water through the Highland Lakes Dam system. It rises all the way back in Lubbock but the drought there is just as severe as here. Lake Travis which supplies most of the water here in Austin is now only 54% full.
Now one might think that maybe we just had a wet year last year. Not so. Central Texas actually missed its yearly rain total by a little more than an inch last year. They say we will get rain this week. maybe 1/2 inch. That will not help the situation at all, but I guess that is better than nothing. At least maybe the grass will turn back to green for a few days.
Rain this year
January 1 inch
February 6.2 inches
March 2 inches
April 1.9 Inches
May 1.5 inches
June 1.23 inches
July 0 inches
august through the 9th….0 inches