A dozen more inches of rain needed to end Central Texas drought

Rain arrives in Central Texas but more is needed to end the drought
Rain arrives in Central Texas but more is needed to end the drought(Megan Boyd)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:15 PM CDT
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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - Despite significant rain Monday across Central Texas, Bell County Commissioners voted to extend its burn ban as officials say another at least 12 inches of rain are needed to end the drought.

“Its good to have the rain for sure, it gives us a little breather for today and the next couple days,” Morgan’s Point Resort fire Chief Taran Vaszocz-Williams explained.

He says he and all the other fire chiefs in the county were consulted Monday morning before the decision to extend the burn ban.

“We were all consulted this morning and we all agreed,” he said about the commissioner’s decision.

While his department will likely get a break from responding to grass fires while the rain is falling, he says its still been a trying year.

Since July when the current county burn ban went into effect, the Fire Marshal’s Office got 446 grass fire reports.

That’s five times the number reported in the same time frame last year (82).

In all of 2021, 683 reports of grass fires were received, and so far in 2022 that number has almost doubled at 1,236.

The staggering numbers have a lot to do with the lack of rain the county has seen too. From July to August last year, more than seven inches of rain fell. This year, it’s been less than than a half an inch.

But officials are not sure the rain forecasted for this week will be enough to make up for what’s been lost.

“We don’t go to the gym and do a bunch of cardio and then go step on the scale and expect change, the rain is the same way. We’re in a drought its the long game not the short game,” Vaszocz said.

“The long game is, even despite what going’s on right now, we’re still in a drought. It’s going to continue to be dry and folks need to continue to be vigilant.”

At the start of Monday, KWTX Meteorologist Sean Bellafiore said all of Central Texas needs about 15 inches of rain to get out of the drought.