2022 is now in the record book, and for almost all of Texas, rainfall was much lower than-normal and temperatures were well above normal. The current drought which started in the fall of 2021, persisted and grew worse throughout the year. Drought conditions reached a peak in the middle of August, when 88 percent of the state was in some level of drought. 12 percent of the state, including much of Central Texas and the Hill Country was in exceptional drought—the fourth and worst level of drought.
Rainfall for areas west of Interstate 35 was quite low. Areas to the east were somewhat wetter, but still well below normal. Doppler radar estimates and surface reports show totals ranged between 10 and 25 inches across the Hill Country, between 20 and 30 inches across Central Texas, and between 25 and 40 inches across the middle Texas coast.
In Austin, Camp Mabry recorded an annual total of 26.59 inches, which was 9.66 inches below normal. 2022 ranks as the 29th driest year on record, dating back to 1897. There were 72 days with measurable precipitation.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport recorded an annual total of 25.38 inches, which was 10.19 inches below normal. 2022 ranks as the 21st driest year on record, dating back to 1943. There were 69 days with measurable precipitation.
2022 Rainfall (Courtesy NWS West Gulf River Forecast Center)
2022 Rainfall was well below normal. Across the Hill Country, Central Texas, and coastal regions, totals were generally between 5 and 16 inches below normal. Of particular note is the area just west and southwest of Austin, were totals were between 12 and 20 inches below normal. Departures from normal even exceeded 20 inches at a few spots.
For Austin and the region, 2022 was the driest year since 2011.
2022 Rainfall Departure from Normal (Courtesy NWS West Gulf River Forecast Center)
Looking at the temperature for 2022, readings averaged above normal. Despite below normal temperatures January through March and also in November, and the arctic blast in late December, readings for the year still averaged above normal.
In Austin, Camp Mabry’s temperature averaged 71.1 degrees, which was 1.1 degrees above normal. 2022 ranks as the 8th warmest year on record, dating back to 1897.
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the temperature averaged 68.4 degrees, which was right at normal. 2022 ties with 2000 and 1987 for the 38th warmest year on record, dating back to 1943.