Wet month obliterates drought
April showers were abundant across the area, and they helped put an end to a drought that had been developing across northwest Texas through the first three months of 2019.
Vernon reported 6.22 inches of rain fell during the month of April. That appears to fall just shy of breaking the record for the month. The 30-year average for April is around 2.50 inches. The highest April rainfall in Vernon on record was 6.51 inches in 1997.
That washed away a drought. The April 11 U.S. Drought Monitor showed the western half of Wilbarger County, all of Hardeman County, half of Foard County and portions of Baylor and Knox counties in the first-level drought category of “abnormally dry.” The May 2 report showed no drought conditions in the region.
Vernon ended the first four months of 2019 with just under 10 inches of rain year-to-date. The 25-year average for the first four months of a year is 7.5 inches, while just 2.19 inches had fallen by the end of April year-to-date last year.
The Texas Tech Mesonet site in the City of Vernon’s water well field in Odell reported 4.31 inches of rain fell in April. The record for April at the Odell site is 8.22 in 2014, while 8.18 was recorded there in 2016. Crowell reported 5.79 inches of rain in April. Goodlett in Hardeman County reported 7.91 inches of rain in April.
April, as is usually the case saw a wide-range of temperatures. Four highs were in the 90s, 17 in the 80s, five in the 70s, three in the 60s and one high in the 50s. There were no lows in the 20s during the month. Five lows were in the 30s, 11 lows were in the 40s with 14 in the 50s.
There were three freezes reported in April this year. Five freezes is the recent high mark for April, set in 2013.
Water wells in good shape
Vernon City Manager reported that the city’s water wells look to be in good shape heading towards the summer months – though are down from last year.
The April well field readings showed an average saturated thickness of 43.95 feet. Saturated Thickness is the depth of water laden material in the well.
The Winston and Odell fields had an average saturated thickness of 44.19 feet last year in April. It was 42.95 feet in April, 2017. The level was 39.61 in 2016 in April. The wells had a pre-drought average saturated thickness, prior to 2011 of around 42 feet for the month.
The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for Wilbarger County to have a high probability of experiencing below average temperatures and above average rainfall in both the one-month and three-month outlooks. An El Nino is in effect, that weather pattern is usually good news locally as it results in higher than average rainfall for this region and lower than average temperatures in the summer.
No drought conditions are expected in the region at least through the end of July, according to the U.S> Drought Monitor.