Heavy rains earlier Wednesday drenched most of Texas on into Oklahoma. This was superb news for a part for a part of the country that had been battling extreme to exceptional drought for most of the summer into the fall.
The rain came down fast enough to have many flash flooding watches and warnings go out for portions of the Lone Star State. At the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, they picked up 4.26" of rain. Austin picked up 5.66" with the San Antonio Airport picking up close to 3" of rain. Some rainfall reports outside Austin were as high as over 9". Very impressive! Here's a look at radar estimated rainfall around Dallas. The reds just north of Dallas represents 8-10" of rain while a few areas with some pink color is a staggering 10-12". This was a Texas sized soaker!
However, the powerful line of thunderstorms was also responsible for severe weather including damaging winds and so far five reports of tornadoes.
Despite the driest year in Texas history in 2011, the past couple of months have brought several storms systems that have given the state a good-soaking. This all despite a moderate La Nina, which usually brings drier weather to the deep south. This is the second big soaking Texas has seen this month. If you look at the current drought monitor from January 17th, the change is quite impressive. Yes both Texas and Oklahoma are still under some form of a drought, but the improvement is quite encouraging. As of January 17, 62% of Texas is under the two worst drought categories. It wasn't too long ago that at the end of September a staggering 97% of Texas was under the two worst drought categories, which would be extreme and exceptional. Check out the Drought Monitor above. It also shows improvement in Oklahoma as well. We'll likely see more improvement after this storm system today.
This rest of the week on into the weekend looks dry for Texas and Oklahoma for the most part. Some more beneficial rainfall is possible though by the end of next week.