The month of October is drawing to a close and it sure has been a dry one for Central and South Texas.  In fact, climate records show this month has been among some of the driest Octobers on record.  This is significant because October is generally one of the top 3 wettest months of the year and is typically the wettest month of autumn.  It’s fortunate the month of September was wetter than normal, but the rain turned off in late September and could never really get going in October.

Totals for the month have generally averaged between 0.25 and 0.5 inches across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and less than an inch across the middle Texas coast. Somewhat higher totals were noted across northeastern Wharton County.  Monthly totals are generally averaging 2 to 3 inches below normal across the Hill Country and between 3 and 4 inches below normal at most other locations.

Rainfall Departure from Normal, October 1 – October 28

In Austin, Austin-Bergstrom Airport has recorded an October total of 0.34 inches.  For the entire month, this total will likely end up 3.90 inches below normal.  Records show October 2020 will end as the 6th driest October on record, behind 1955, 2016, 1987, 2010 and 1952.

Austin-Camp Mabry rainfall for October has totaled 0.35 inches.  For the entire month, rainfall will likely end up 3.53 inches below normal and October 2020 will likely tie with October 1944 for the 14th driest October on record.

With so little rain falling in what should be a very wet month, drought conditions have begun to show up.  Soils have dried out; many plants are stressed, and the fire danger is increasing.  Thursday’s updated National Drought Monitor for Texas shows moderate drought, the first of four levels of drought, expanding across the western and northern Hill Country between Coleman and Bandera.  An additional area of moderate drought was shown for much of Williamson, Lee, Bastrop and Comal Counties.  An area of severe drought, the second of four drought categories, was shown over most of McCulloch and Mason Counties.  Surrounding these areas of drought, a large area of  “abnormally dry” conditions was depicted for the remainder of the Hill Country and Central Texas.

With rainfall forecast to remain below in November, drought conditions are expected to expand and worsen across the region.  Stay tuned for further updates and forecasts as we move through the second half of autumn.