Environment
1:25 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Austin Finishes its Driest November in 100-Plus Years

It didn’t rain at all in Austin this month, making it the driest November in more than 100 years. Only three other years on record show no rainfall for the month, all in the 1800’s: 1861, 1894 and 1897.

In fact, it hasn't rained 0.03 inches or less in Austin in November since 1950.

So will the dry weather stick around? The latest forecasts don’t indicate either an unusually dry or an unusually wet winter for Texas.

“We were hoping the El Niño would be a little bit stronger because that typically means wetter weather for Texas in winter. It just really didn’t develop yet," says YNN chief meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons. "We’re still watching it but the new forecast out of NOAA does show above normal temperatures for the winter season from the gulf coast states all the way back through the central Rocky Mountains." 

But, Fitzsimmons says, NOAA was wrong last year.

"So these forecasts, although fairly conclusive, aren't the end all be all. We'll just have to watch and see what happens—especially with that El Niño. Maybe we'll get lucky and get some really good December or January or February showers that can turn this drought around."

For now, though the drought looks as though it's here to stay for a while. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows more than half the state (54 percent) is in severe drought, nearly 25 percent is in extreme drought and more than 7 percent is in exceptional drought—the driest stage.