As yet another year comes to an end, it has always been one of my favorite traditions to look back at the year that was and really take everything in. If you are anything like me, you have already read and watched many recaps of the top news stories this year, the top sports stories of the year, and the top stories in entertainment. This got me thinking... What about the weather!? We have had quite an interesting year here in Central Texas to say the least. Now if you have already forgotten, here is your chance to remember the weather of 2009 in Central Texas…
We started off the year with a high of 70° on New Years Day and a record high of 80° on January 2nd! This would only be a sign of what was to come. In January and February we saw very little rain and above normal temperatures. In fact, when February was over, we had officially experienced the 4th highest average maximum temperature for the winter season and the 10th driest winter on record.
After a very dry winter, we saw some relief in March. During the second week of March there was a heavy rain event where over a 3-day period some areas reported up to 7 inches of rain. On March 11, the Waco Regional Airport reported 2.66 inches of rain, which was a daily record! Although this rain event led most of Central Texas to have an above average month for rainfall in March, this was not the case for all of Central Texas. Milam and Robertson counties ended the month with below normal precipitation, giving them as much as a 15 inch precipitation deficit since August of 2008. This area of Central Texas had officially entered a Severe Drought.
April started off on a very cold note. On April 7, a widespread freeze led Waco to record a low of 26°, which is now the coldest April reading on record. This freeze destroyed much of the Central Texas wheat crop. However, cold weather did not prevail through the month of April. We quickly warmed up to see our first 90° temperatures of the year on April 9 and our first triple digit temperatures of the year on April 22. During this period there were also significant wildfires that destroyed over 140,000 acres. Most of Central Texas remained in bad drought conditions, although Freestone County received some relief by way of flooding rains producing over 15 inches for the month.
Although May is usually the wettest month of the year, Central Texas received little relief from its drought conditions. This could be due in part to the fact that May is typically the peak of severe weather season in Central Texas, but there were relatively few storms that month. However, there was one storm that grabbed the attention of many Texans, especially Dallas Cowboys fans. On May 2, a Microburst hit the Valley Ranch area of Irving, and caused the Dallas Cowboys practice facility to collapse, injuring coaches and players. The severe drought in Central Texas was much worse by the end of May, which was not helped by the fact that Waco recorded the 15th driest May on record.
June is usually hot in Central Texas, but in 2009 June was exceptionally hot and exceptionally dry. In June we had the 8th highest average maximum temperature and the 8th highest average temperature on record for that month in Waco. This also would have been the driest June on record receiving only a trace of rain until the very last day when Waco received .73 inches of rain.
The weather trend from June continued right into July. Hot and dry! There were 19 triple digit high temperatures in the month of July in Waco, which ranks 9th most. For a comparison of July 2009 to July 1980, read Bradys Blog by clicking here... www.kwtx.com/blogs/bradysblog/51571687.html Although much of Central Texas ended the month of July with below normal precipitation, several severe weather events brought some rain to the area to keep the drought conditions about the same… Which at this time people thought couldn’t get much worse, but then came the month of August…
August just put the final touches on an unbelievably hot and dry summer. Waco Regional Airport reported 21 triple digit highs during the month of August, tying it with 10th most of all time. Only 0.01 inches of rain fell in Waco, making this past August the 7th driest August on record. No, this is not a typo, 5 other times only a trace of rain was reported in Waco during the month of August, and one time absolutely no rain fell in Waco! Considering that the summer season is made up of the months of June, July, and August, and knowing what you now know about these months, you can probably figure out that this past summer will go down in the records as being one of the hottest and driest in Central Texas. We recorded 54 triple digit highs, which is the 4th greatest total for any summer in Waco. Officially, the average high of 98.7° recorded over these three months is the 3rd highest average maximum temperature for our summer season. The average temperature of 87° is the 8th highest average temperature on record for the summer season.
There is an old Texas Weather Adage that goes, "A drought ends in a flood, and a flood ends in a drought." Well this couldn’t be more true for our summer to fall transition. After one of the hottest and driest summers on record, we started off our fall with the 5th wettest September on record. Multiple rain events throughout the month caused flooding, most notably on September 11, when the Salado Creek overflowed and caused several residents to have to evacuate their homes.
Although Central Texas saw quite a bit of rain during the month of September, there were still some areas suffering from drought conditions. This was no longer the case after October. October saw a record 16 days of rain, making it the 3rd wettest October on record. With all the clouds and rain, the temperatures were also held down. October recorded the 8th lowest maximum and the 9th lowest average temperature.
After blistering heat and no rain all summer, and cooler temperatures with what seemed like constant rain in September and October, November turned out to be a very nice month. We had lots of sunny skies with pleasant temperatures and very little rain. Even with the little rain in November, the Fall season in Central Texas ended as the 4th wettest on record.
December 2009 was a very dreary and cold month for Central Texas. There were only 6 days with above normal temperatures, and with a mean monthly temperature 4° below normal, it will go down as the 9th coldest December on record. We would end December with below normal precipitation but we did have several days of snow during the month. On the 4th, 24th and 29th there was measurable snow that fell across parts of Central Texas. The .1" that fell in Waco on December 24th was the first measurable amount of snow to ever fall on Christmas Eve! This was also enough to put December 2009 as the 10th snowiest December on record for Waco.
Even though we ended the year with two consecutive months of below normal precipitation and with the extreme drought we faced in the summer, Waco recorded 37.53 inches of precipitation in the year of 2009 which is 4.19 inches above the normal of 33.34 inches. A lot of the unusual weather we experienced in the Fall and Winter of 2009 can be contributed to El Niño, and if you want to read more about that, read my blog about El Niño and how it effects us here in Central Texas... www.kwtx.com/blogs/rudysblog/64414777.html.
I hope all of you have a great and happy New Year and don't forget to vote on our poll of what you think was the most important weather story of 2009!