West Central Texas Weather Summary for 2013
The background map in Figure 1 shows the geographic regions of west-central Texas, which are referenced in this annual weather summary.
Figure 1: Geographic Regions of West-Central Texas.
Total precipitation for the year varied from above to below normal across west-central Texas. Figure 2 shows the percentage of normal precipitation for 2013.
Figure 2: Percent of Normal Precipitation for the year 2013.
The yearly precipitation was above normal across much of the area between Brownwood, Eden and Junction, and west along the Interstate 10 corridor through Crockett County, and north into Irion County. The highest annual precipitation (in excess of 35 inches) within this area occurred at scattered locations in Brown, Coleman, San Saba, Mcculloch, Concho and Menard Counties. The yearly precipitation was below normal across much of the Big Country and northern Concho Valley. The lower amounts within this area (15-20 inches) occurred at widely scattered locations. The lowest annual precipitation (less than 15 inches) occurred in central Sterling County.
Temperatures for the year averaged above normal at San Angelo and slightly above normal at Abilene.
At Abilene Regional Airport, the average annual temperature for 2013 was 64.9 degrees. This was 0.3 degrees above the normal average temperature of 64.6 degrees. Total precipitation for the year was 23.19 inches. This was 1.63 inches below the normal average of 24.82 inches. Total snowfall for the year at Abilene was 2.3inches. This was 2.9 inches below the normal yearly snowfall of 5.2 inches.
At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average annual temperature for 2013 was 66.3 degrees. This was 0.8 degrees above the normal average temperature of 65.5 degrees. Total precipitation for the year was 19.80 inches. This was 1.45 inches below the normal average of 21.25 inches. Total snowfall for the year at San Angelo was 4.3 inches. This was 1.9 inches above the normal yearly snowfall of 2.4 inches.
The annual total number of days where high temperatures reached or exceeded 100 degrees include 30 at San Angelo, 19 at Abilene, and 18 at Junction. In comparison, the average annual number of days where high temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees is 18 at San Angelo, and 12 at Abilene.
* Winter Weather *
A fairly active weather pattern prevailed in January and February.
The main winter weather event (snow event) early in the year occurred on January 3-4, with the approach of an upper level storm system. Most of the snow occurred between the Interstate 10 and Interstate 20 corridors. The heaviest snowfall of 2-5 inches (isolated amounts to 6 inches) occurred from Crockett County northeast across the Concho Valley, east across the northern Heartland and north into parts of the southern Big Country.
A couple of strong wind events occurred, on January 29-30 and on February 25. Both of these wind events were brought about by strong upper level storm systems which passed just north of West Central Texas. The highest peak wind gusts exceeded 50 mph at a few locations in the Concho Valley on January 29-30, and at severall locations mostly in the Concho Valley on Feburary 25. These winds caused minor damage and resulted in some power outages.
Other precipitation events with rain showers and thunderstorms occurred on several occasions in January and February. With an event January 8-10, the coverage of rainfall was widespread across west-central Texas. The heaviest rainfall of 1.5 to 2.5 inches occurred across parts of the Heartland and Northwest Hill Country. Several thunderstorms with small hail occurred on January 29. A line of thunderstorms accompanied a cold front during the overnight hours of February 9-10, a couple of which were severe. Showers and thunderstorms also occurred during the overnight hours of February 11-12 across parts of west-central Texas, with a few stronger storms containing small hail. In addition, showers and thunderstorms occurred during the post-Midnight hours of February 21st, and during the overnight hours of February 24-25.
Winter weather events also occurred later in the year, on November 22-24 and December 5-6. With the November event, a mix of light freezing rain, sleet and freezing drizzle occurred, resulting in light ice accumulations across northern and central sections of west-central Texas. The most hazardous road conditions were across the Big Country with sleet and ice accumulations, due to the colder temperatures. During this weather event, the precipitation transitioned to rain at times, as temperatures occasionally rose above the freezing mark.
With the December event, freezing rain and sleet transitioned to all sleet across the Big Country, Concho Valley and Heartland, while the precipitation was mostly freezing in southern sections of West Central Texas. Some of the precipitation was accompanied by lightning and thunder to the southeast of a Sonora to Brownwood line. With temperatures well-below freezing, sleet accumulated to one-half inch, and ice from the freezing rain accumulated to between one tenth and one quarter of an inch. The most hazardous travel conditions occurred across the Big Country, where numerous traffic accidents were reported.
* Spring and Severe Weather *
The pattern was rather active during the Spring, with numerous thunderstorm and severe weather events.
Temperatures averaged above normal while precipitation was well-below normal in March. San Angelo recorded its 6th driest March. A significant severe weather event occurred on March 9 across the Heartland and Northwest Hill Country areas, where a total of 30 severe weather reports were received. Severe weather (large hail) occurred in various parts of West Central Texas during the last few days of March.
In April, temperatures averaged above normal at San Angelo and to a lesser extent at Abilene. Precipitation for the month varied from well-below to well-above normal.
The April weather highlights for west-central Texas featured a rollercoaster pattern in temperatures, and several strong to severe thunderstorm events. With this pattern, records were set or tied on some of the days with high temperatures, low temperatures, record low maximums, and record high minimums. One of the more notable occurrences was the minimum temperature of 73 degrees at San Angelo on April 17th, which not only set a new record high minimum for that date, but also tied the record high minimum temperature for the month of April.
Cold air intrusions in April followed the passage of 4 strong cold fronts during the month. A relatively late season light freeze was recorded at several locations on the 18th. On the 24th, some locations across the Big Country recorded a late season light freeze. For some of the locations, the latest freeze on record was avoided by a narrow margin. Several of the temperature warming trends were marked by gusty south winds with gusts exceeding 40 mph.
Severe thunderstorms occurred on April 9, 10, and 18.
In May, temperatures averaged near normal while precipitation varied from well-above to well-below normal. In general, Abilene and much of the Big Country experienced below normal precipitation, while San Angelo and much of the Concho Valley received above normal precipitation.
The rollercoaster pattern in temperatures (from April) continued into the first few days of May. The low temperature of 33 degrees at Abilene and 35 degrees at San Angelo on May 3rd were not only records for that date, but also tied the record low temperatures for the month of May. At four cooperative observer locations in west-central Texas, low temperatures at or below 32 degrees were reported on May 3rd. This likely was the latest freeze on record for those locations.
Several severe weather events occurred in May, and some of these were significant. One of these events occurred on May 9th and included two fairly long-track supercell storms. A total of 39 severe weather reports were received for this event. On May 20, persistent and regenerating severe storms occurred in Brown County, with 3 tornadoes. The second tornado caused the most damage, and was rated EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. On May 23rd, a complex of severe storms moved south-southeast across the Big Country, producing a weak tornado on the east and southeast sides of Roby (Fisher County). Strong winds and large hail also accompanied the severe storms across the Big Country, with strong winds farther south into Coleman and Tom Green Counties. In addition, very heavy rainfall with this thunderstorm complex caused some flooding in various parts of west-central Texas. A total of 64 severe weather and flash flood reports were received for this event.
The active severe weather pattern continued through the first 19 days of June. A significant severe weather and flash flooding event occurred in the Abilene area on June 17th. Severe weather also occurred across surrounding areas of the Big Country, and to a lesser extent farther south. Very strong winds of 70-80 mph caused damage throughout the Abilene area. With torrential rainfall of 2 to 4 inches (with isolated higher amounts up to 4.85 inches), flash flooding occurred on numerous streets and intersections, and along creeks in the Abilene area. High water rescues were needed for stranded motorists. Around the nearby Hamby area, (near the intersection of Jones, Taylor, and Callahan Counties), winds of 70-80 mph occurred, uprooting two large oak trees in Hamby. Strong winds from the storm caused partial roof damage in Potosi, in northeastern Taylor County.
Another significant severe weather event occurred on June 5-6, affecting the Concho Valley and Big Country. A total of 31 severe weather reports were received for this event. On June 9th, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms (with high winds) affected the Big Country.
Temperatures averaged above normal in June, and precipitation varied from well-above to well-below normal. Much of the above normal June precipitation occurred in the Big Country and Abilene areas.
* Summer Weather *
The hot and dry pattern usually prevalent during the summer was limited in 2013.
With a period of cooler weather at the start of July, new record low temperatures were set at San Angelo and Abilene, on July 2-3. Precipitation in July was much above normal across a large part of west-central Texas. This was largely due to an anomalous rainfall event which occurred during the middle of the month. This was brought about by a very unusual development with the upper level flow pattern, which allowed an upper level low pressure system to track southwest, from the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley across Missouri, Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle into eastern New Mexico. The airmass became very moist with the arrival of this system. This resulted in an unusually favorable setup for heavy rainfall, for this time of year. Showers and isolated thunderstorms with heavy rain affected all of west-central Texas on July 15th and 16th. The highest rainfall amounts of 10-12 inches occurred in east-central and southeastern Callahan County. Rainfall amounts of 7-10 inches occurred in parts of the southeastern Big Country, northern Heartland, and in Concho County just northeast of Eden. Amounts of 4-7 inches were common across much of the Big Country and Heartland, parts of the Concho Valley, and at a few locations in the Northern Edwards Plateau and Northwest Hill Country.
Some minor flooding occurred during this event (most noteably in Coleman), but the widespread, heavy rainfall was beneficial for the region and brought short-term relief to ongoing drought conditions.
Runoff from the heavy rainfall flowed into area creeks, streams, and reservoirs. This resulted in some increase in area reservoir levels, including at Fort Phantom Hill, Lake Brownwood, Hubbard Creek, and Lake O.H. Ivie.
Temperatures were anomalously cool during this wet period. With the widespread rainfall coverage and extensive cloud cover, daytime temperatures were unseasonably cool on July 15th, when highs were only in the mid 60s to lower 70s. This marked the only occasion in July with a high temperature below 70 degrees at Abilene. For both Abilene and San Angelo, highs on the 15th set new records for not only the daily record low maximum temperatures, but also for the month of July.
The main period of hot and dry conditions, with high temperatures of 100 degrees or more, occurred July 12-14, and from the end of July through the first 7-10 days of August. During these time periods, upper level high pressure was centered over Texas.
During the middle and late parts of August, the upper level high pressure system was not in close enough proximity to dominate the weather pattern. The upper level flow pattern allowed a few weak cold fronts to enter west-central Texas, bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall.
Precipitation for August was above normal across much of the Big Country, generally north of a line from Albany to Merkel to Blackwell. Across much of this area, monthly rainfall was in the range of 2-4 inches, with widely scattered 4-6 inch amounts. August rainfall was also above normal across much of the Northwest Hill Country and southern Heartland, and in a few scattered pockets of the Northern Edwards Plateau and northern Heartland. The monthly rainfall was below normal across a large swath extending from the southeastern Big Country, south and west across the northern Heartland, Concho Valley and Northern Edwards Plateau. The monthly rainfall was less than 1 inch at numerous locations across this area.
* Autumn Weather *
In September, precipitation was above normal across almost all of west-central Texas, and temperatures averaged above normal. For numerous locations, the monthly precipitation was well-above normal.
Two noteable rain events occurred during the month, on September 19-20 and September 28. On the 19th and 20th, widespread and heavy rainfall affected the region, especially across central and southern sections of west-central Texas. With this event, a new daily rainfall record (2.43 inches) was set at San Angelo on the 19th. While the rainfall was beneficial for west-central Texas, where moderate to severe drought conditions were occurring prior to this event, the rain intensity and duration led to some flash flooding in the Northern Edwards Plateau, Northwest Hill Country, and parts of the Concho Valley. In all, a total of 12 flash flooding reports were received for this event. With the rain event on the 28th, the heaviest rainfall occurred across the area northwest of a line from Cross Plains to Christoval to south of Ozona.
In October, precipitation varied from well-above to well-below normal, and temperatures averaged near to slightly above normal. A significant and heavy rain event occurred in the middle of the month (October 12-15). The heavier rainfall affected much the area southeast of a line from Lake Brownwood to San Angelo to Sonora, and parts of the northwestern Concho Valley.
Patchy frost made an early appearance for the Autumn season on October 19, when it was reported at Merkel and Sweetwater.
In November, precipitation for November varied generally from below normal across the northeastern half of west-central Texas, to above normal in southwestern sections of the region. Temperatures in November averaged below normal across west-central Texas. The weather highlights for November included a light freeze early in the month (November 7), a hard freeze followed by record warmth in the middle of the month, and a sharp temperature change with some winter precipitation later in the month. The hard freeze occurred areawide on the 13th, and new record low temperatures were set at San Angelo (20 degrees) and Abilene (21 degrees). With the strong warmup that ensued, a record high temperature was tied at Abilene (83 degrees) on the 16th.
Warm temperatures on November 21 were followed by a sharp change to much colder conditions, with wintry precipitation. Periods of mixed winter precipitation occurred on November 22-24, and the cold air (with well-below normal temperatures) lingered through the 25th. Record low maximum temperatures were set at San Angelo on the 23rd and 24th, and tied at Abilene on the 22nd.
In December, precipitation for the month was above normal (or near to above normal) across much of west-central Texas. For the second month in a row, temperatures averaged below normal across the area.
The main weather highlight for December was a winter weather event and record cold conditions, preceded by an abrupt temperature change. A major change in the pattern and strong cold front brought an end to the above normal temperatures which occurred during the first 4 days of the month. Mixed winter precipitation occurred on December 5-6. A very cold airmass was entrenched across the region through the early morning of the 8th, and was reinforced on the 9th. Record low maximum temperatures were set at San Angelo and Abilene on the 6th and 7th. Record low temperatures were also set at San Angelo and Abilene on the 7th.