Central Texas is seeing heavier, but less frequent rainfall, according to new climate averages

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — When we compare our weather to “average” we’re calculating that using the weather over the last three decades.

Up until a few weeks ago we obtained these averages using weather from 1981-2010, but every 10 years these averages are updated. So, 1991-2020 is now the “new” period of comparison.

The changes in averages over a decade can be used to make determinations on how our climate is changing.

Here in Central Texas, there are a few main takeaways from these new numbers: it’s getting hotter, and it’s raining harder but less frequently. This means heavier rainfall and more floods but also more frequent and severe droughts.

KXAN spoke with Keith White from the Austin/San Antonio National Weather Service about the changes.

“Our primary rainfall season now is a little bit rainier in the month of May, and then kind of starts to cut off a bit sooner as we head into the spring,” he said. “And then our secondary rainfall season in the fall is now getting ramped up a little bit earlier in August.”

Central Texas is also warming. Austin now sees 11 more hundred-degree days in an average year, and not a single month had average temperatures drop. The months that warmed the most are February, March and December, each warming by more than one degree on average.

White said, “We are going to continue to see, especially the months of July, August and September, frequent days with high temperatures in the hundreds. Of course in Central Texas it’s also humid, so like I said people who spend a lot of time outdoors need to be aware of that and take precautions to keep themselves from dealing with things like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

The cause of these weather changes?

White explained, “There are other modes of climate variability that do impact those things, but those ups and downs are all being superimposed on a general upward trend that we’re seeing due to impacts on our climate.”

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