May 2012 Weather Highlights for West-Central Texas

 ...8th Warmest May on Record for Abilene...

Temperatures averaged above normal across west-central Texas in May. 

Precipitation for the month varied from well-above to well-below normal.  The
monthly amounts were above normal across the southwestern Big Country, and along an
arc extending from Crockett County northeast into Tom Green County, and from Tom
Green County east and southeast across Mcculloch, San Saba, and Mason Counties.
Scattered pockets within this arc received more than 200 percent of the normal
monthly rainfall. The rainfall for May was below normal across a small part of the
northern Concho Valley, northern Heartland, and much of the Big Country.  This was
most pronounced across part of the northern Big Country, where the monthly amounts
were less than 25 percent of normal.

At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for May was 76.6 degrees. 
This was 3.6 degrees above the normal average temperature of 73.0 degrees.  This
marks the 8th warmest May on record for Abilene.  Total precipitation for
Abilene in May was 2.31 inches.  This was 0.87 inches below the normal of 3.18

At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for May was 77.0 degrees.
This was 2.5 degrees above the normal average temperature of 74.5 degrees.  This
tied for the 11th warmest May on record for San Angelo.  Total precipitation for San
Angelo was 4.50 inches.  This was 1.68 inches above the normal of 2.82 inches.

The number of days in May with high temperatures of 100 degrees or more include:
4 at San Angelo, 4 at Junction, and 3 at Abilene.

May 2012 Weather Highlights...

Well-above normal daytime temperatures occurred on several days early in the month.
Highs were mostly in the range of 95-104 degrees on the 4th-6th. Record high minimum
temperatures were set at Abilene and San Angelo on the 2nd.  A record high minimum
temperature was set at Abilene on the 3rd.  Record high temperatures were tied at
San Angelo and Abilene on the 4th. Gusty south winds occurred on some of the days. 
Peak wind gusts of 40 mph were recorded at Junction on the 3rd, and 44 mph at
Abilene on the 5th.    

With the approach of a dryline into a rather unstable airmass, scattered severe
thunderstorms occurred on the 3rd through 6th, as upper level disturbances moved
across the region in southwest flow aloft.

The severe storms on the 3rd produced large hail and occurred in the late evening,
across the northern Big Country. The largest hail reported hail size was golfball
size in Haskell County (6 miles northeast of Rule and 2 miles south-southwest of

On the 4th, the severe storms occurred mostly during the evening, across the eastern
Big Country and into Brown County.  Golfball size hail in Cross Plains caused
extensive damage to vehicles.  Wind damage was also reported in Cross Plains.  Ping
Pong ball size hail was reported in Albany. 

The severe storms on the 5th occurred mostly during the evening, across parts of the
Heartland and Northwest Hill country.  Wind damage to a tree and power lines was
reported in Brownwood, and hail to golfball size was reported 5 miles south-
southeast of Brownwood.  Ping pong ball size hail was reported 8 miles west of
Zephyr (Brown County).          

On the 6th, a severe storm produced large hail as it tracked from Menard County into
eastern Kimble County.  Golfball size hail was reported in Menard County 13 miles
southeast of Menard and 6 miles north of London.  Golfball size hail was also
reported in London (Kimble County).     

A severe weather event affected a larger part of west-central Texas on the 7th, as a
cold front moved south into a moist and rather unstable airmass.  The severe storms
occurred during the afternoon hours, and contained large hail and damaging winds. 
The large hail ranged from quarter to golfball size, with the golfball size reported
in Erna (Menard County).  Near San Angelo, quarter to half-dollar size hail was
reported.  Strong thunderstorm winds uprooted trees in Fredonia (Mason County).  A
70 mph wind gust was reported in Eden, and a 60 mph wind gust was recorded at
Junction.  At the San Angelo Regional Airport, a 45 mph wind gust was recorded. 

The storm coverage on the 7th was widespread across roughly the southern half of
west central texas, and heavy rainfall accompanied the storms.  Although beneficial
overall, the heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in parts of Tom Green County,
including the San Angelo area.  A number of water rescues were reported at various
locations across San Angelo.  In addition, flooding was reported 3 miles west of
Tankersley on Highway 67, and 1 mile south-southeast of Tankersley on FM Road 2335.

Additional showers and thunderstorms developed during the early morning hours of the
8th, as a weak disturbance aloft entered the region in southwest flow aloft.  The
heavier rainfall occurred across parts of the Concho Valley and Heartland, and much
of the area along and south of Interstate 10.

Temperatures were much cooler on the 8th, with cloudy skies and rainfall.  Highs
were in the 60s across much of west-central Texas.  A record low maximum temperature
was set at San Angelo on the 8th.

A heavy rain event occurred on the 10th, with the approach and arrival of an upper
level storm system from northern Mexico.  A large area of showers and thunderstorms
overspread west-central Texas, and a few of the storms were severe.  Strong
thunderstorm winds caused considerable localized damage to a ranch just west-
northwest of Wall (Tom Green County).  Lightning injured a person 9 miles south of
Sweetwater.  Flooding was reported on a road 12 miles north of Barnhart, and on
Highway 67 about 1 mile southwest of Barnhart.  

The heaviest rainfal with this event occurred across the western Big Country, Concho
Valley, Northern Edwards Plateau, and across the area southeast of a line from
Junction to Richland Springs.  This rainfall on recently saturated soil led to
greater water runoff into streams, lakes, and rivers.  Some water level increase in
area reservoirs occurred as a result of this rainfall and runoff.

Rainfall totals for the period May 7-11 were in the range of 3-5 inches (with
locally higher amounts) across the western Big Country, much of the Concho Valley
and southern Heartland, and much of the Northern Edwards Plateau and Northwest Hill
Country.  Rainfal amounts were mostly in the 1-3 inch range across the central and
eastern Big Country, Runnels County, and the northern Heartland.  

Scattered showers and thunderstorms occurred across roughly the northern half of
west-central Texas on the 11th, as the upper level storm system moved northeast to
the Red River.  Considerable cloud cover lingered on the 12th.  This resulted in
another cool day across west-central Texas, with afternoon highs in the upper 60s to
lower 70s across much of the region north of Interstate 10.

Numerous showers and thunderstorms occurred on the 14th and 15th, as a strong upper
level disturbance moved from New Mexico southeast across Texas. Rainfall amounts of
one half to one inch occurred across much of the Concho Valley, Northwest Hill
Country, parts of the Northern Edwards Plateau, and southern Coleman County. 
Scattered locations received between 1.5 and 2.5 inches.  The Big Country received
the least rainfall from this system, where the coverage was scattered and rainfall amounts
varied under one half inch.

With the cumulative effects of rainfall from previous weeks, some water runoff
into area streams, lakes, and reservoirs occurred.

Warmer and drier conditions occurred from the 15th to 21st, under the influence of
weak upper level high pressure systems. Hotter daytime temperatures occurred on the 23rd
and 24th. On the 23rd, highs were in the mid to upper 90s. On the 24th, highs ranged from
the upper 90s to 105 degrees. An intrusion of very dry air followed a dryline, which entered
the western Big Country on the afternoon of the 23rd, and advanced across roughly the western
two-thirds of west-central Texas on the 24th. Afternoon relative humidity values dropped
below 20 percent behind the dryline on the 23rd. On the 24th, relative humidity values fell
into the 5-15 percent range behind the dryline.

A severe weather event occurred across the Big Country and parts of the Heartland
areas on the 28th (Memorial Day).  With the approach of a weak cold front into a
very unstable airmass, scattered thunderstorms developed by late afternoon across
northwestern Texas.  These storms entered the Big Country and became more numerous
during the evening hours.  Some of the storms moved southeast across the northern
Heartland, while other storms lingered over the Big Country until after Midnight.

A number of the storms were severe with strong, damaging winds and large hail.  The
severe weather affected Abilene and Brownwood.  In Abilene, most of the wind damage
was to tree limbs and power lines.  Wind equipment measured peak gusts of 63 mph at
Dyess Air Force Base, and 59 mph at the Abilene Regional Airport.  In Brownwood, the
winds downed trees and power lines.  Wind equipment measured a peak gust of 55 mph
at Lake Brownwood. 

The largest hail size reported was golfball size at Nolan and 2 miles northwest of

In all, a total of 18 severe weather reports were received for this event.

Locally heavy rainfall also accompanied the storms, and rainfall amounts of one half
to one inch were common where the storms occurred.  The highest amounts, between 1.5
and 3 inches, occurred across eastern Haskell and western Throckmorton Counties, and
across parts of Nolan and western Taylor Counties. 

Temperatures were hot on the 29th and 30th.  Highs were between 97 and 102 degrees
at a number of locations areawide on the 29th, and across central and southern
sections of west central texas on the 30th.

A significant severe weather event occurred on the evening and early nighttime hours
of the 30th.  With the approach of a dryline into a very unstable airmass, scattered
thunderstorms initially developed and became severe across the southern Big Country.
Hail to baseball size was reported at coronado camp, which is 9 miles southwest of
View in Taylor County.  Golfball size hail occurred 12 miles west of Buffalo Gap
(Taylor County), and at Lake Abilene State Park (4 miles southwest of Buffalo Gap).

During the evening and early nighttime hours, a supercell storm tracked south 
along an outflow boundary, from northern Runnels County into central Mason County.
This storm produced a couple of tornadoes along with baseball to grapefruit size

A brief tornado touchdown occurred in the Millersview area.  This tornado, which
remained in open fields, was rated an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.  Two other
tornado touchdowns were reported on the Concho and Runnels County line just east of
U.S. Highway 83, or about 5 miles east-northeast of Paint rock.  These tornadoes
also occurred over an open field, and were also given EF0 ratings on the Enhanced
Fujita Scale.

The largest hail reported was grapefruit size at Millersview, where skylights were
broken in homes. About 3 miles south of Melvin, wind-driven baseball size hail
caused extensive damage.  East-facing windows in homes were broken, and roofs on
homes were damaged.  In addition, the corn crop was stripped in a nearby field.

Baseball size hail was also reported 6 miles west-southwest of the town of Mason,
and golfball to baseball size was reported in Ballinger.  Large hail to tennis ball
size was reported 11 miles north-northeast of Hext (Mcculloch County). Late in the
evening, a couple of severe storms moved south-southeast into Haskell and
Throckmorton Counties.  Hail to hen egg size hail was reported at Rochester (Haskell
County), and a 77 mph wind gust was recorded at a MESONET site one mile north-
northwest of the town of Haskell. 

In all, a total of 29 severe weather reports were received for this event.

Following a weak cold frontal passage, temperatures were slightly cooler on the
31st, when highs were in the upper 80s to lower 90s.

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