Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 8:32 PM GMT on April 11, 2014
Persistent Drought Still Reigns in Much of Texas: The case Of Lubbock
Although much attention has (rightly) been focused on the extreme drought in California, it seems that we’ve almost forgotten about how intense and long-lasting the drought has been for much of central and northwestern Texas. This drought developed a long three and half years ago and, in some localities, it is far and away the worst drought on record. That’s the case in Lubbock.
The latest (April 8th) drought monitor for Texas. While the drought situation has improved for far western Texas it remains extreme to exceptional for 27.6% of the state, with the Panhandle and central regions worst affected including Lubbock. NOAA et al.
Since January 1st Lubbock has received just 0.47” of precipitation versus a normal to-date (April 10) of 2.91”. More astonishing is the 32.91” total since October 1, 2010 (normal would be 63.81”). This is not only the driest 3 and a half-year period on record but surpasses the previous record for such by the amazing margin of 8.28”. The average annual precipitation for Lubbock (POR 1981-2010) is 19.12”.
Driest 42-month periods on record for Lubbock, Texas (since 1911). The previous driest such period (aside from this year) was that ending on April 30, 1955 when a total of 41.19” was measured versus the current 32.91”. Note that the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s ranks in third place with a 42-month total of 42.41” ending on April 30, 1936. Table from NWS-Lubbock.
The persistence of the drought in Lubbock can be seen in this monthly drought monitor graphic (it chart begins in January 2000) which shows that the city has been in a severe to exceptional drought situation since early 2011, more than three years. Graphic from NWS-Lubbock.
As a consequence of the prolonged drought, dust storms have become regular occurences for Lubbock and other drought-stricken regions of western and central Texas. There have been nine significant such events in Lubbock since the beginning of this year.
A massive dust storm looms over Lubbock’s Texas Tech’s football stadium at Jones AT&T Stadium. This event occurred last October. Photo by Scott Lacefield.
Christopher C. Burt
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