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Water + Weather for April 2022 Posted on May 10, 2022


Dr. Mark Wentzel – Hydrologist, Texas Water Development Board     

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Texas Water Development Board's latest Water and Weather report. I'm Dr. Mark Wentzel, a hydrologist in the Surface Water Division here at the agency. And today, we'll be taking a look at conditions for our state at the end of April and a look forward to May.

Let's take a look at some of the big water and weather headlines. April was warmer and drier than normal for much of the state, but about a sixth of the state had normal or better precipitation for the month, the best showing for eight months. At the end of April, drought conditions covered 82 percent of the state, but that's down six percentage points from the end of March. Storage in our water supply reservoirs is at 79 percent of capacity, five percentage points less than normal for this time of year. But that's also a slight improvement from the end of March. Drought is expected to contract and moderate in parts of North Texas and the Panhandle over the next few months. That's not a great outlook, but it's the most optimistic outlook in the last six months.

April wasn't great. It was below average in rainfall across the state. But, you know, we've had this string of months of below-average rainfall for quite some time now. And a few areas around the state have had average or above-average precipitation during those months, but not very many. So, what's different about April is about a sixth of the state got some good drenching.

In previous months, the National Weather Service has been looking out three months, giving us seasonal outlooks, and they've always been fairly pessimistic on the outlook for Texas. And so, even though we're not, we never were 100 percent of the state in drought—during the last few months, looking out, they've always projected that for us. What's happened in April has kept parts of Central Texas, parts of North Texas, and South Texas out of drought and kind of portends that they might stay out of drought and even that we might see some improvement beyond that and see some contraction of drought in the areas that are currently in drought. 

We probably won't get out of the current drought situation in just one good May. That won't be sufficient. But if we have a good May, that sets up for a pretty good June as well. And then, it certainly won't be as difficult going through the summer. Our current drought situation kind of reminds me of the poem by Ernest Thayer, "Casey at the Bat." And in that poem, the local fans know that they're behind on the scoreboard. It's the last inning, but Casey's up to bat. And because of Casey's history and what he's done, his production, the fans are still confident that they've got a good chance of pulling this win out. Well, for us in Texas, the month of May is kind of like Casey. You know, we may be behind on the drought scoreboard, but because of what May has done for us, for us historically, we always have this hope that it can come through for us again. And May, historically, has been the wettest month for Texas. We get an average of 3 1/3 inches of rainfall in that month, making it the wettest month of the year for us. We want to be cautiously optimistic.

It's always good to conserve water. Even if we have a great May, that doesn't mean that we want to take the foot off the pedal of conserving water and being careful with our water resources. But certainly, it's a better spot because of where we've been. It's kind of a better spot now, and we're kind of trending in the right direction. 

This article is posted in Weather / Drought .