Rainfall across Austin, Central Texas adds up in drought-easing way

Updated Sept 11, 2018
  • By Brandon Mulder
  • Austin Community Newspapers Staff
A Kyle Police officer checks on North Burleson Road at Plum Creek, assessing whether he can safely reopen the road after rainfall in the area eased on Sunday. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

On Sunday alone, parts of Austin received roughly four times more rain than what had fallen in the entire month of August, kicking off what is forecast to be a wet week ahead.

Sunday’s 1.28 inches of rain at Camp Mabry added to this month’s total of three inches, according to the National Weather Service, putting this month’s rainfall roughly an inch ahead of the average for this time of year. The weather service recorded just 0.33 inches of rain at Camp Mabry in August.

Meteorologists expected another half inch of rain to fall on Central Texas overnight Sunday and flash flood advisories were posted through Monday morning for Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Blanco, Travis and Williamson counties.

Sunday’s rain, which was precipitated by a slow-moving low-pressure front drifting eastward from West Texas, fell on the first day of a seven-day stretch of showers and thunderstorms expected in the Austin area. A 40 percent chance of rain is forecasted daily until Saturday, when it drops to 30 percent through the weekend, according to the weather service.

“I don’t know when we’ll get out of this wet weather pattern,” said Yvette Benavides, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “For the rest of the week, we’ll still have chances of rain.”

The highest rain levels in Central Texas were recorded in Wimberley, where up to 5.5 inches fell Sunday, followed by western Williamson County, where 5.1 inches were recorded, according to the National Weather Service’s network.

“We’ve been soaking most of all this up,” said Williamson County Emergency Service Director Jarred Thomas.

Thomas said that, after reviewing final rain amounts Monday morning, he would recommend Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis lift the burn ban if drought conditions improve as expected. Last week, the majority of the county was listed as being in severe drought, according to the Texas Drought Monitor.

“If I was a betting man, I’d say that by tomorrow it could probably be lifted,” Thomas said.

Other than a few road closures at high-water-crossings, the weather service and local emergency coordinators did not record any significant flooding in the region.

Walnut, Williamson and Shoal creeks in Austin and Bear Creek near Driftwood recorded stream flow at an all-time high for Sept. 9, according to U.S. Geological Survey river gauges. But stream levels quickly began falling after cresting in the afternoon.

This week’s weather also will bring balmy temperatures on Monday and Tuesday, with highs near 86 degrees and lows around 70. Temperatures will begin ratcheting back up as the week progresses, with highs in the high 80s and low 90s while lows persist in the mid to low 70s.