If a weatherman had promised the wettest autumn in history, the inevitable question would have been, “How many, and how strong, will the hurricanes be?”
Yet Texas captured more rainfall in the fall season than in recorded weather history, which dates back to 1895—and tropical weather disturbances had nothing to do with it, said George Bomar, the meteorologist for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
A total of 15.27 inches, averaged statewide, was more than double the normal for the season that runs from September 1 to November 30.
Abilene caught 18.12 inches of rain during the season, or three-quarters of the rain that occurs in a typical autumn in the Big Country. Dallas-Fort Worth (29.21) and San Antonio (25.11) received even more, setting new autumn records for those metropolitan areas. Not to be outdone, Galveston (36.74) and Port Arthur (32.73) measured still more, establishing a new ceiling for autumn rain in the upper coastal region. East Texas kept pace, with Lufkin (29.08), College Station (23.94), and Tyler (22.21) recording more rain than ever before in the fall.
Even areas quite distant from the Texas coast saw near-record rainfall: San Angelo’s 18.06 inches, and Del Rio’s 16.54 inches, were the second most ever in autumn. Austin measured 17.43 inches, which ranked seventh all time for the city. (Meteorologists regard autumn as consisting of the three months from September through November.)
With an inch or more of rain added over December’s first weekend, some Texas cities are poised to set an even more impressive record in the days ahead.
The total rainfall for 2018 in Dallas-Fort Worth has now grown to 52.70 inches, and another inch before the end of December will distinguish the year as the second wettest in history for the North Texas metropolis.
With 85 inches of rain already counted, the Beaumont-Port Arthur area is virtually assured of a second-place finish—behind the 104 inches measured only a year ago, due in large part to Hurricane Harvey.
More precipitation records are threatened, as winter settles in with a likely prospect of continued bountiful rain—and at least several episodes of truly wintry weather.
Already, a near-record snowfall smothered the South Plains over the first weekend in December: Lubbock’s total accumulation of 10.0 inches is within about an inch of the city’s greatest total snowfall on record for the month of December.
George Bomar, the meteorologist for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, oversees the Weather Modification Program.