If you’re headed out to Austin Pride festivities this weekend, be sure to grab your rainbow-colored umbrella, as an area of low pressure to the northwest will continue to drop rain on the Hill Country and likely in parts of the metro area through Monday.
Forecasters say it’s possible that 1 to 2 inches of rain could fall in Austin from Saturday to Monday, and closer to 4 to 6 inches in parts of the Hill Country and west of Burnet, providing a much-needed dousing to drought-ridden areas of Texas.
“We will take every bit of it,” University of Texas meteorology lecturer Troy Kimmel said Friday. “The ground can handle it.”
The latest map released by the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday shows worsening drought conditions in Central Texas, with Mason, San Saba and Lampasas counties plagued by extreme drought and portions of Blanco, Burnet, Hays and Williamson counties now in severe drought.
Only about 22 percent of the state is drought-free, compared with about 80 percent at this time last year, the data show.
“The rain may help,” National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Huffman said. “It is really going to depend on where that rain falls and how much those areas get.”
Some parts of the Hill Country already had gotten soaked up to 3 inches of rain Friday, including the largely dry Llano River in Mason County, which by 3 p.m. had picked up 3.12 inches, Lower Colorado River Authority gauges show.
Kimmel said continued showers over the Hill Country will feed the upper portion of the Colorado River, carrying much-needed water to the Highland Lakes, including Lake Travis, which is about 8.2 feet below its historical average for August, LCRA data shows.
“The rain will have some positive effect,” Kimmel said. “I think we will see some reduction in drought in the state of Texas.”
It is possible the heavy rain expected to fall in the Hill Country could shift farther south to the Austin metro area, so people should stay weather-aware, Kimmel said. People should watch out for lightning and possible localized flooding should storms arise.
Huffman said she does not expect Austin’s weekend to be a total washout, and people should continue with Pride festivities as planned. The skies will be cloudy, and a cold front will keep temperatures no hotter than the lower 90s in the day and in the 70s at night, forecasters said.
At press time Friday, forecasters put rain chances Saturday in Austin at 50 percent and 60 percent for Saturday night. Chances for a wet Sunday stay at 60 percent in the day but slip to 50 percent Sunday night. Continued rain is possible early Monday, but storms are likely to clear midmorning.
“If you haven’t gotten your rain by 6 p.m. Sunday, things look pretty dry next week,” Kimmel said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see 100-degree temperatures by the middle and latter part of next week.”