Despite rainfall, East Texas still remains dry
Despite steady rainfall during the past few days, Tyler is sitting slightly below normal when it comes to precipitation this year.
Doc Deason, KYTX CBS19 meteorologist, said the area received a nice soaking rain Tuesday. Precipitation totaled just under a half inch as of 4 p.m., according to National Weather Service data.
Brandi Richardson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Shreveport office, said the city logged 4.44 inches of rain from Jan. 1 through Monday, compared with the 30-year-average of 4.47 for that same time period. This measurement is taken at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.
While the rainfall is positive, the area remains in drought. Tyler finished 2012 slightly below normal with 41.55 inches of rainfall compared with the 30-year average of 45.79 inches for a year, Ms. Richardson said.
The next few days are expected to be rain free. Deason said the forecast calls for sunshine today with a high in the 50s.
Tonight, temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s with highs in the 60s Thursday.
He said there is a 20 percent to 30 percent chance of precipitation Friday night into early Saturday, but he is not expecting that to become anything major.
The next opportunity for rain is Monday with a 20 to 30 percent chance.
Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said there has been a rainfall deficit in Tyler since October. Looking at just the past three months, normal rainfall would be 13.78 inches and Tyler has received 5.56 inches.
He said the rain has been falling primarily in the eastern half of the state, so areas of exceptional drought remain in South Texas and the panhandle.
More than 90 percent of Texas is in some form of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map online.
Smith and Gregg counties, along with a large part of Upshur County, remain abnormally dry, which is the first of five drought stages, according to the map.
Parts of Wood, Van Zandt, Henderson, Anderson, Cherokee and Rusk counties also are in the abnormally dry category as well.
The year 2011 set the record for the worst one-year drought for the state, Nielsen-Gammon said. And that drought still continues.
Every week since the start of 2011 at least half the state has been in some level of drought, Nielsen-Gammon said. The last time the entire state was out of drought was April 2010.
He said East Texas has some of the state's biggest reservoirs with most of them pretty close to full. However, for the state as a whole, reservoirs are at their lowest level since at least 1990 for this time of year, he said.
Ms. Richardson said it might seem like the area is getting a lot of rain and it is when compared to the past few years. But it will take more.
"We're recovering from a significant setback," she said of the state. "It's going to take time for everything to recover."