Society

Too hot, too dry, two-oh-eleven

By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


By late August it was so bad Milam County’s desparate cowbirds were glad to find any ground moisture at all, ringing a less-than-half-filled stock tank on FM 908. 
Reporter/Mike Brown By late August it was so bad Milam County’s desparate cowbirds were glad to find any ground moisture at all, ringing a less-than-half-filled stock tank on FM 908. Reporter/Mike Brown It could have been even worse.

The year just past was the hottest on record in the 87 years weather records have been kept in Rockdale.

It might have been the driest, too, if not for one little factor.

December. The spider finally drowned in the U. S. Weather Service rain gauge at KRXTFM as a total of 9.8 inches were recorded in the last month of 2011.

That pushed the final yearly total to 21.75 inches, a remarkable final outcome considering the 2011 total didn’t top the 10-inch plateau until late October.

That 21.75 is still the fourth lowest yearly total in the past 50 years, behind 2008 (15.09), 1988 (16.40) and 1963 (17.13 inches).

Rockdale’s all-time driest year was 1948 when just 14.89 inches fell.


Only day this photo could have been taken out of 365 last year was May 12 when inundated Meadow-Brazos corner looked like this. Only day this photo could have been taken out of 365 last year was May 12 when inundated Meadow-Brazos corner looked like this. DROUGHT— The wet months of January (3.56 inches) and December masked just how severe the drought was in 2011.

Rainfall total in February through November was 7.39 inches.

Monthly totals were less then one inch in seven of 2011’s 12 months and no rain at all was recorded in August.

Rainfall total in July through September combined was .47- inch.

That’s among the driest periods ever recorded in Rockdale but not the driest.

W. C. Marrs, Rockdale’s first official weather observer, recorded no precipitation at all from June 19, 1924, to Sept. 2, 1925, a total of 15 months.

TEMPER ATURES—The record heat wave of 2011 has been well documented in The Reporter.


Allday Street tower leak overnight in 22-degree weather Jan. 11-12 produced “ice storm.” Three weeks later the real thing hit Rockdale, along with a three-inch snowfall, much to the delight of Hannah Lehmkuhl (R) and Haven Jimenez, who found a friendly driveway. Allday Street tower leak overnight in 22-degree weather Jan. 11-12 produced “ice storm.” Three weeks later the real thing hit Rockdale, along with a three-inch snowfall, much to the delight of Hannah Lehmkuhl (R) and Haven Jimenez, who found a friendly driveway. It was selected as the top story of the year in the roundup of the past year’s news, published last week.

Rockdale posted a record 94 days of 100- degree heat and 2011 shattered every heat record but one. The year’s high of 112 degrees was one degree of the all-time high of 113, posted in 2000.

There actually were some cool days in 2011, though, capped off by a pair of 17-degree readings on Feb. 1 and 2.

Two weeks later, a cold front brought a three-inch snowfall to the Rockdale area, making for a morning of hazardous driving and forcing area schools to close.

SURE BET?— What does 2012 have in store? Probably a rainfall of just under three inches in May.

That’s the total the last four consecutive Mays and five of the last six.

TEN-YEAR RAINFALL CHART FOR ROCKDALE

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Januar y 1.95 1.91 2.50 3.55 1.31 5.28 1.32 0.48 1.39 3.56
Februar y 2.07 5.05 4.65 3.72 1.80 .17 1.14 0.89 2.13 0.83
March 1.59 1.78 2.39 3.09 1.98 6.70 2.94 2.34 2.27 0.45
April 1.89 0.89 4.33 .48 2.06 2.94 1.98 3.42 1.23 0.11
May 1.65 0.21 3.74 5.18 2.54 8.52 2.82 2.84 2.87 2.80
June 4.20 3.71 11.61 .02 2.29 4.33 0.23 0.17 2.51 1.85
July 7.12 3.62 0.43 4.32 0.91 15.01 0.33 0.71 2.75 0.30
August 0.35 0.46 2.73 4.28 0.89 .92 0.82 1.06 0.32 0.00
September 1.75 1.65 0.33 .08 3.60 1.06 0.44 9.54 4.21 0.08
October 8.10 2.68 7.46 1.46 4.99 2.66 2.13 8.07 0.06 0.09
November 5.59 1.00 8.60 .22 0.84 4.53 0.49 2.19 0.47 1.88
December 5.70 1.82 0.68 .41 2.01 1.42 0.45 1.87 1.00 9.80
TOTALS 41.96 24.78 49.99 26.81 26.36 53.64 15.09 33.58 24.21 21.75

10-year total 287.26 inches (10-year average 28.73 inches). 87-year total 2,879.69 inches (86-year average 33.01 inches).


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