Latest Rainfall in Texas Top 2011 Totals

October 02, 2012; 5:25 AM
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Instagram user "implicitmlg" took this photo of heavy rain on a highway in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday.

Coming off one of the worst droughts in state history, parts of the Lone Star state have recently been dealing with more rain than they know what to do with.

The reservoir-filling, gully-washing downpours experienced over the past three days have not only broken records, but dropped more rain in just 72 hours than was seen in all of 2011 in some locations!

"2011 was a very dry year," says AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Adam Douty.

Even factoring in the prolonged dryness, the rain totals, due in part to the remnants of Tropical Storm Norman, were impressive even if they came after such a parched calendar year.

"It was the third wettest day ever in Midland on Friday the 28th," said Douty.

Three-day rainfall totals ranged from 2 to as much as 7 inches over a large chunk of Texas, especially throughout the central and southern parts of the state.

Multi-observational estimated rainfall totals from Friday, Sept. 28, the wettest day of the storm in many areas across west-central Texas. (NOAA)

Many locations, mainly in west-central Texas, recorded less rain through all of last year:

Location Rain (9/27-29/2012) Rain (2011) Difference
Terlingua 3.36" 1.30" +2.06"
Midland (RAWS) 5.84" 3.92" +1.92"
Midland (Airpark) 4.16" 3.10" +1.16"
Big Spring 4.75" 3.98" +0.77"
Odessa 5.17" 4.60" +0.57"

Nearly as impressive, other areas totaled a significant portion of 2011's total rainfall in just a fraction of the time:

Location Rain (9/27-29/2012) Rain (2011) % of 2011 Total
Bakersfield 3.16" 3.50" 90%
Fort Stockton 2.31" 2.75" 84%
Wink 1.58" 1.94" 81%
San Angelo 5.84" 9.24" 63%
Abilene 7.08" 16.85"` 42%

While residents were undoubtedly happy to see the rain, will it be enough to further quell the long-term drought in the region?

A map showing drought conditions across the South. "Severe" or "exceptional" drought is highlighted in red and maroon shades. (U.S. Drought Monitor)

"I think the short-term benefits will be large by filling reservoirs and lakes," says Douty. "But to break a long-term drought, you need to have a pattern shift which would give a prolonged period of near- to above-normal rain."

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 79 percent of Texas remains in drought conditions, with the drought in a quarter of the state ranked as "severe" or "exceptional."

Even ignoring the recent heavy rain, conditions have been improving as much of Texas is averaging near to above normal in rainfall since late spring.

The AccuWeather.com Long Range forecasting team will release their full winter outlook this Wednesday, and as a preview, precipitation does look to remain above normal through at least a part of Texas through early next year.

If that is the case, 2013 could prove to be a better growing season than both 2011 and 2012.

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