Ron Vestal

National Weather Service

Weather Observer

This Week’s

Weather Quiz:

1. True or false: The coldest temperature that I recorded in January 2010 was 22 degrees.

2. True or false: The warmest temperature that I recorded in January 2010 was a mild 81 degrees.

3. True or false: The over-all average temperature for all of January 201 was 1.5 degrees above normal.

4. True or false: The total rainfall that I recorded for all of January 2010 was 2.51 inches.

5. True or false: I recorded seven days in January 2010 that reached freezing or below.

Weather Highlights

To Dry, or, To Wet

This time last year we were in a drought. The last six months of 2008 had produced only 13.92 inches of rain and the drought continued into the start of 2009. I only recorded 1.24 inches of rain in January 2009, and only 0.39 of an inch recorded in all of February 2009.

But in March 2009, 6.63 inches of rain fell and 4.46 inches fell in April easing the drought. However, after those two wet months, the dry spell continued. Only 2.53 inches fell in May, normally our wettest month of the year, 3.62 inches in June, 1.93 inches in July, and only 1.66 inches fell in August. The drought hadn’t ended. The March and April rains had only brought some temporary relief.

September brought more than just temporary relief. It brought a total of 10.31 inches of welcomed rainfall. The 10.31 inches in September 2009 was a little more than I had recorded for the previous four months, May through August, which had a combined total of only 9.74 inches. It was the wet month we really needed to fill area lakes and replenish area soil moisture.

However, Mother Nature wasn’t ready to turn the rains off. The rains continued into October. In fact, rain was recorded seventeen out of the thirty-one days of October 2009. I recorded more rainfall in October, 11.47 inches, than in September. Almost as much rainfall fell in September and October, a combined total of 21.78 inches, than what fell the previous eight months, January through August, which had a combined total of 22.46 inches. It was pretty safe to say that the drought had ended. But only 2.01 inches fell in November 2009 and 2.17 inches was recorded in December 2009.

The new year, 2010, has started off wet. I recorded 4.15 inches in January and I have already recorded another inch so far this February. Now, some gardeners, me included, have started to complain that it is too wet to plant their onions and potatoes. I wonder though how often we will complain how dry it is before 2010, ends.

Weather Flashbacks

for Feb. 1-7:

Feb. 1, 2003 – low temperature 39 degrees, high temperature 70 degrees. Clear, windy, and mild. At about 8 a.m. the Space Shuttle Columbia blew up and break apart on re-entry over Texas en route to land in Florida.

Feb. 1, 2009 – low temperature 44 degrees; high temperature 74 degrees. Partly cloudy and mild.

Feb. 3, 1993 – low temperature 48 degrees; high temperature 52 degrees. Cloudy with 1.60 inches of rain.

Feb. 4, 1983 – low temperature 32 degrees; high temperature 37 degrees. Cloudy and cold with 0.05 of an inch of rain. At 12 noon, I recorded a light mixture of rain and sleet with a temperature of 33 degrees.

Feb. 6, 1997 – low temperature 43 degrees; high temperature 48 degrees. Cloudy and cold with 0.33 of an inch of rain.

Feb. 6, 2009 – low temperature 55 degrees; high temperature 75 degrees. Clear, windy and mild.

Feb. 7, 2009 – low temperature 61 degrees; high temperature 74 degrees. Partly cloudy, windy and mild.

This Week’s Small Texas Town Salute:

Schwab City – population 120, located in Polk County in east Texas.

Tilmon – population 117, located in Caldwell County in south central Texas.

Violet – population 160, located in Nueces County on the southern Gulf coast.

Water Valley – population 120, located in Tom Green County in west central Texas.

Antioch – population 121, located in Panola County in east Texas.

Benchley – population 110, located in Brazos County on the coastal plains.

Catarina – population 135, located in Dimmit County in southwest Texas.

Answers to this Week’s Weather Quiz:

1. False: The coldest temperature I recorded in January 2010 was 13 degrees on Jan. 9, not 22 degrees. It reached 15 degrees on Jan. 10.

2. False: The warmest temperature I recorded in January 2010 was 76 degrees on Jan. 22, not 81 degrees.

3. False: The overall average temperature for January 2010 was 1.5 degrees below normal, not 1.5 degrees about normal. The average temperature was 45.1 degrees.

4. False: The total rainfall that I recorded for all of January 2010 was 4.15 inches, or 1.11 inches above normal, not 2.51 inches.

5. False: I recorded fourteen days in January 2010 that reached freezing or below, not seven days.