Rainfall totals dipping below normal again

After bountiful rains during the fall and winter, the Heart of Texas is quickly falling back into the trend it has suffered through during much of the past decade. With above average rainfall from October through January, the moisture total dropped below the norm in February when only 1.15 inches fell, compared to the average of 1.60 inches. But March rebounded with an above average rainfall total when 3.16 inches were gauged during that month. That amount was more than double the average for the traditionally windy, raw month of 1.40 inches. But April and May came and went, leaving below average totals, and McCulloch County Agent Jerry Kidd is beginning to worry again. “It appears we are getting back to where we were the last few years, but one thing is very different’this year we have the deep moisture that we haven’t had in several years,” he told the Standard-Herald Monday afternoon. He pointed out, however, that the top soil is dry (the top eight inches), and that’s hurting the warm weather grasses. “We had a bigger die off of those type of grasses than we had anticipated,” he said. Kidd said that McCulloch County missed out on some rains during May when Brady registered 2.76 inches, compared to the average of 3.60 inches for the month. “What we need now is a good follow-up rain in the two-three-inch area. A nice, slow rain over the next two to three weeks would be wonderful,” he said. Kidd explained that the drouth of the 1990s was severe, but not as bad as the one during the 1950s. “This recent dry spell caused a lot of die off in our improved variety of grasses, like Klein and Love grass,” he said. “It appears that we had between an 80 to 100 percent death of those grasses in the past two to three years.” That has been devastating for local ranchers and stockfarmers. Kidd said that the native grasses have not responded to the fall,winter and spring rains. “We have a lot of forage, mainly in weeds and grasses left over from the winter, but these types of coverage basically ‘sucked up’ all of the moisture,” he explained. Kidd also said that a number of trees, especially oaks, in the county have succumbed to the lack of moisture. “The live oaks and post oaks just couldn’t survive the lack of deep moisture caused by the prolonged drouth,” he said. Lawns in town have also suffered because of the drouth. “They just are not responding because the ground has been stressed,” Kidd said. So, residents in this part of Texas are again looking to the skies for more moisture. “If we could have gotten just a tenth of what Houston received last week, we’d be in good shape,” he concluded. Houston was inundated with as much as 40 inches of rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Allison that is now visiting the east coast.

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