BIG COUNTRY, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – Typically, May and June are the months where we see a majority of our precipitation for the year. The month of June only saw three days of measurable rainfall for the entire month. Those three days were the first three of the month, with each day measuring less than half-an-inch. Needless to say, the Big Country is DRY.
Looking back at the data from previous years, 2022 is the second driest first half of the year for Abilene on record. Abilene Regional Airport only measured 4.54 inches from January through June. The driest first half of the year on record was in 1984, with only 4.23 inches. For perspective, 2011 ranks as the sixth driest first half of the year.
2011 – Worst drought in recent history
2011 brought extensive drought to not only the Big Country, but the entire state of Texas. Nearly the entire state was in extreme drought, which led to many wildfires, widespread crop loss, and localized water shortages.
The latest updated drought monitor for July 5, 2022 has 97.53% of the state in at least the first category of drought, with 16.11% in Exceptional drought. Compared to the monitor from July 5, 2011, 97.59% of the state was experiencing drought with over 70% in Exceptional drought.
Check out the comparison from 11 years ago on the figure below. Drag the button to compare.
Lake levels across the Big Country have been steadily dropping throughout the year as well. WaterDataForTexas.org shows the following lake levels around the area as of July 7 compared to just over 3 weeks ago:
|Lake||% Full as of July 7||% Full as of June 13|
According to the National Weather Service West Gulf River Forecast Center, Texas reservoirs are seeing decreasing capacity due to the lack of rainfall and increased evaporation. Abilene area reservoirs are currently 59.2% full according to WaterDataForTexas.org.
When mapping out the percentage full of Abilene reservoirs over the years, there is a disturbing correlation. 2022 reservoirs are trending in a very similar direction as 2011. It is important to point out that current levels are not as low as they were 11 years ago, but trends can be telling of what is to come.
As for what the future holds, it looks like more of the same. The Climate Prediction Center’s one-month and three-month precipitation outlook continues to show the probability of below normal precipitation percentages.