Goodbye Dry

Published on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 23:51 - Written by FAITH HARPER fharper@tylerpaper.com

Wednesday’s rains helped fill up reservoirs and inch East Texas out of its dry season.

John Adams, KYTX CBS19 chief meteorologist, said East Texas received an inch to an inch and a half of rainfall Wednesday, and about 4 inches was expected over a large part of East Texas before the rain comes to a stop this afternoon. The rain never escalated to thunderstorms on Wednesday, but a flash flood watch was issued for most of the day.

The rain should come to a stop just in time for trick-or-treaters to collect their sugary bounty, but there still may be muddy areas from the downpour.

Adams said the rains were caused by an area of low pressure in the western part of the country moving east. The wave pushed up moisture in the air from the Gulf and Pacific and cooled it, causing the rain.

According to the National Weather Service, the Tyler-area has received a total of 31.5 inches of rain from Jan. 1 through Tuesday. The area was 5.64 inches below the normal count of 31.55 before the rains hit.

Tyler is in slightly better shape than Lufkin, which was 6.12 inches below its normal of 37.97 and more than 3 inches better than Longview, which was 8.80 inches below its normal rainfall count of 33.13.

The drought conditions in the area have improved due in part to good rainfall in September and October, said Michael Berry, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport, La.

Berry said East Texas is classified as being “abnormally dry,” which is a vast improvement from its classification of “severe drought” in July.

“We’ve seen some (good rainfall) that is helping us catch up to near normal,” he said.

Lake levels are also in pretty good shape for this time of year, he said. Before the Wednesday rains, Lake Palestine was about a foot and a half lower, at 343.51 feet, than its full capacity of 345 feet. Lake Tyler was a bit lower at 370 feet compared to its full capacity of 375.5 feet, and Lake Jacksonville was only a foot lower than its full point of 421 feet, Berry said.

The only lake that the weather service is concerned about is the popular fishing destination Lake Fork, which is sitting at 397.11 feet compared to its full point of 403 feet.

Berry said the placement of the rain determines how much the lakes fill. He said if the rains are directly over the water, then it will fill the number of inches it rained, but if the rainfall is over the tributaries of the lakes, the body of water could rise much more.

The rain also will bring in a cold front. Today’s weather will have highs in the upper 70s, with the weekend showing fall-like weather with highs close to the 70s and lows in the mid-40s to near 50s. Adams said the cool weather should last about a week.

More rain is possible on Monday but it is more likely to come Tuesday and Wednesday, Adams said.