With a peak of 105 degrees, the Heart of Texas is slap dab in the middle of a typical West Texas summer. Only three of the past 14 days have in McCulloch County failed to reach the century mark. Hot temperatures and a lack of rainfall in recent months are quickly depleting the ample moisture reserves built up in the first three months of this year. With no measurable rainfall expected in the next week, McCulloch County is looking to begin the month of August nearly five inches short of the average rainfall to date for the year. In an outlook issued by the Climate Prediction Center earlier this month, the forecast for the region for the next 30 to 90 days does not promise much relief in either temperatures or moisture. Temperatures are expected to be average to slightly above normal and precipitation to be near normal. In the Central Texas region, normal high temperatures are in the mid to upper 90s in July and drop into the lower 80s by September. Normal low temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s in July drop off to around 60 degrees by late September. Typically from July into September, rainfall in Central Texas is spotty and comes from scattered showers and thunderstorms which are triggered by upper level disturbances. Dry weather tends to dominate during the summer due to the influence of a persistent upper level high pressure system. Cold fronts stall well to the north of Texas. Occasionally in August and September, a tropical system over the western Gulf of Mexico will move onto the Texas coast . On a few occasions in the past, the steering flow aloft has allowed the remnants of a tropical system to move into west-central Texas and bring substantial rainfall and flash flooding. During the latter half of September, a cold front or two usually pushes south of the Red River and into the area and sometimes these are accompanied by scattered storms. With the increasingly dry conditions comes the threat of grass and range fires that can cause considerable damage to farms and ranches as well as cause millions of dollars in damage. Already this year, the Brady Fire Department has responded to 19 grass fires in various locations throughout the county since May 1. None, however, have become wildfires and burned substantial amounts of property. “We have been very luck so far this year,” said Brady Fire Chief Johnny Elliott. “A lot of other counties around us have had several big fires, but so far, we have been fortunate.” Of those 19 grass fires, according to Elliott, the majority of them have been the result of careless burning of trash.