We are beginning the third week of October on another warm and dry note. So far this month, only 0.01″ of rain has fallen at Camp Mabry while 0.16″ has been recorded at the airport. October is typically one of our wettest months. Only in June and May (respectively) do we normally pick up more rain in Austin. With another dry week in the forecast this week and the Climate Prediction Center forecasting a drier than normal last week of October, could we be entering a flash drought?
First, you may be wondering what a flash drought is. Like a flash flood, where we see incredible amounts of rain in a short period of time, the opposite is true for a flash drought. A flash drought is where we see a quick transition to little to no rain for an extended period of time.
As of now, most of Central Texas is drought free. Only some areas are seeing “Abnormally Dry’ conditions which is the first level drought category, while parts of the Hill Country are seeing “Moderate” drought conditions which is the second level. However, the forecasts for the upcoming weeks and months show signs of what could be a developing flash drought.
The La Niña that is currently underway this Fall unfortunately doesn’t look to help our chances of avoiding a flash drought. Climatologically, La Niñas usually bring dry and warm Fall and Winters for Texas and much of the southern U.S. The most recent 3 month outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows classic signs of La Niña.
We will have to wait and see how the months play out this Winter. Just because below average rainfall is in the forecast doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t see any rain. It just means that the overall trend will be below climate averages.