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Bandera Courier
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2011-05-12

Patterns

Feather Wilson

When did you last hear any thunder or see any lightening in Bandera County?

It was about 8 months ago that Bandera had any appreciable rainfall.

Compared to the first five months of last year, the county has received 88% less rainfall.

The drought that began in October, 2010, is scheduled to persist through at least July of 2011.

The last 10 years have brought us six years of less than normal rainfall. The remaining four years we were witness to dry periods followed by extreme short term floods.

This type of weather pattern points to climate change and global warming that will only accelerate over the next half century.

The ecology will respond to the changing weather pattern with dying trees, fewer streams and more desert tolerant plants occupying the cream colored marly hills of the Texas Hill Country.

The table below depicts the comparison of rainfall during the first four months of 2010 and 2011.

Month 2010 2011
Jan 5.48 1.45
Feb 5.69 0.64
March 2.85 0.18
April 6.15 0.06

The driest year on record was 1917 when it only rained a total of 10.11 inches. This is based upon 140 years of San Antonio records.

The driest April was recorded in 1899 with only a trace of rainfall. This year was the third driest April in 140 years. The month of May does not look promising.

The present drought is blamed upon regional cooling of surface temperatures across the central Pacific Ocean known as the La Nina. A secondary cause is a persistent upper level high pressure cell apparently stuck like a hot iron stake over Central Texas.

Wild fires will remain a constant threat over the Texas Hill Country for at least the next 4-5 months. A careless cigarette toss or a small brush pile fire combined with high winds could devastate half a county.