Meanwhile, back in the desert

This statistic is startling, not least because it has the ring of truth to it:

They’ve been saying on the local news that this has been the driest January to May period since 1936.

Since the Dust Bowl. That’s scary.

I’m a bit to her north. Let’s see what kind of numbers we have:

    January: normal 1.39 inches, actual 0.07.
    February: normal 1.58, actual 0.36.
    March: normal 3:06, actual 1.26.
    April: normal 3:07, actual 1.00.
    May so far: normal 0.85, actual 0.00.

So instead of the ten inches we should have had so far this year, we’re below three. This isn’t creating a water-supply issue yet — last year, we had over fifty inches of rain (normal is about 35), and we’ve had watering restrictions for over a year — but it’s probably just a matter of time. (Meanwhile, Wichita Falls proposes to recycle wastewater.)

What I find remarkable is that the winter of 2013-14 (defined as December through February by meteorologists) was the ninth driest on record — 1.69 inches — and yet we had over eight inches of snow. (Plus an inch and a half in March, which counts toward spring.)

This does not bode well. Drought depresses me, the long string of rainless cloudless days, and also the worry about what will happen to my trees (my lawn, I’ve given up on). The constant unending days of heat. I know people in northern climes complained about this winter, but honestly, for me, the four to six months of summer is worse than any winter — in winter, you can bundle up and go outside for 20 minutes or so and come back in and make tea and feel grateful. In summer, here, I can never get my house quite as cool as I’d really like it to be, and while it is a relief to come back into the house after being out in the heat, it’s not quite as GREAT a relief.

The wide swings perplex me. Wettest August ever was 2008 (9.95 inches); 2009 followed with 5.74, good for 7th place; and then 2010 dropped a mere 0.48 inch on us, tied for fifth driest, and just 0.02 inch above the entire summer of 1936.


  1. fillyjonk »

    7 May 2014 · 12:42 pm

    Yeah, the person who floated the “This is the driest period since 1936” is someone who’s generally not an alarmist about such things, so I trusted without verifying, but I do wonder what, if anything, the snow did for our water count.

    Of course people around here fret because they look at the gradually-receding lake as evidence of doom.

    Also, “1936” always rings alarm bells for me, because as I said over there, I knew people in Illinois who talked about how awful that summer was for heat – they were kids at the time and kids seem to be bothered less by that than adults are.

  2. CGHill »

    7 May 2014 · 1:14 pm

    The snow seems drier these days; easier to shovel, maybe, but lacking in essential moisture. On 6 February we had two inches of the stuff, which melted down to a mere 0.04 inch of liquid.

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