Too hot, too dry, two-oh-eleven
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.
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.
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.
That’s the total the last four consecutive Mays and five of the last six.
TEN-YEAR RAINFALL CHART FOR ROCKDALE
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).