ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – May has proven itself to be an outlier in terms of rainfall, compared to past months in 2023. Our meteorologists say a shift in the weather pattern may be to blame.
“We are transitioning from a ‘La Niña’ pattern, which we have had three consecutive years – which very rarely happens, but it has had us very dry… Now [we’re] moving into an ‘El Niño’ Pattern, which historically means a wetter period,” Sam Nichols, KTAB’s Chief Meteorologist, explained.
This change in rainfall possibly hints at some wetter, cooler summer months on the way. But, as we’ve experienced, that comes with higher lake, tank, and creek levels every now and then.
“No matter how dry or wet our ground is, it’s gonna be hard to absorb that much rain coming that quickly,” chimed Dylan Smith, KRBC’s Chief Meteorologist.
As fishermen and cotton farmers may rejoice, folks living in low-lying areas have been keeping a close eye on the rain gauge, and preparing for higher rainfall totals than we’ve seen in years past.
“My son, he stepped off the curb and it came up to his waist,” described Glenda Collier, in the Catclaw Creek area.
Collier told KTAB/KRBC flooding used to be much worse in her neighborhood, but since the city dug out a runoff tank to hold the excess water, their streets and porches have been fairly clear of flood waters. This is an assessment her neighbor, Reyes Rodriguez supports.
KTAB/KRBC asked Rodriguez, “Are you worried about flooding tonight?”
“No I don’t think so,” Rodriguez answered. “The creek has been cleaned up pretty good…After it quit raining the water just keep on flowing.”
Now, the high waters crossing over some Abilene roads and roaring down the creeks hint at the need to prepare, should that hard rain come.
“We’ve already eclipsed like four and four-10ths inches of rain already this month,” said Nichols. “Over two inches above our average for the month of may.”
Although Rodriguez and Collier said a wetter summer is something they’d like to see, even if it means keeping a go bag ready if the waters rise up higher than they’re used to.
“We cannot just guarantee the next three months. It’s gonna be a wet summer, but we have turned the corner to a point that we are in an ‘El Niño’ pattern… And that’s some hope, and we’ve needed that hope,” Nichols added.
The next few months are feeling a bit more optimistic than the ones we left in 2022.