Monday, December 5, 2011

November-December Rains Help, but....

Recent rainfall totals of up to 5 inches throughout central Texas since mid-November have been a welcome addition to record-breaking dry year. In fact, the rainfall for November and December total just above average for those two months. Consecutive above-average rainfall months haven't occurred since June and July of 2010 with passing of Hurricane Alex and other tropical storms.

Although these rains have set the conditions for runoff that could help alleviate the groundwater drought, the recent rains have not produced runoff and are far from ending our drought. The Blanco River (at Wimberley) and some of the more urbanized creeks in the Austin area, such as Williamson and Slaughter, had temporary rises in stage and flow due to the flow. However, Onion Creek has not had any substantial flows from these rainfalls. Barton Springs has also had a temporary rise due to the localized (urban-runoff) effects, but will quickly decline to pre-rainfall levels in the next few days.

Many months of above-average rainfall, or sufficiently large rainfall events (>10 inches) under the right conditions, are needed to help alleviate the drought conditions.

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