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Spring rains causing flooding concerns

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April of 2010 continued our pattern of wetter-than-normal weather across Denton and all of North Texas.  So far this year, Denton has received nearly 15 inches of rain which puts on a pace of 45 inches this year.  We don’t expect to stay this wet all year long, but there can be no doubt that we’re still in a rainy stretch of weather.  And while it’s not exactly in my line of work, there’s no doubt the rainy winter has resulted in one of the worst allergy seasons in the past 10 years.  I feel your pain.   

But April was different in at least one respect:  We had some lengthy stretches of dry weather in the middle of the month.  Our first big storm event was April 2, when we received over an inch of rain.  Following that, we had a few minor outbreaks, but the next major rainfall was on the big NASCAR race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.  April 17 and 18, Denton picked up nearly 2 inches of rain, with western sections of the county receiving even more. 

At this writing, our hydrologic outlook continues to resemble a nearly-full glass of water that could easily spill if barely touched. 

We’ll have to keep a close eye on streams, rivers and area lakes.  As long as the ground feels soft, groundwater is still seeping out of the banks into the rivers and streams which are running faster and higher than normal.  And with lakes upstream (including Oklahoma) expecting additional rainfall, we have a shrinking margin of safety.  Instead of 6” overnight rain, a 3-4” overnight rain could easily cause widespread flooding in parts of Denton County.  And 3-4” rains are far more likely than 6” rains in the next couple months. 

If you live near, or travel through low-lying areas, remember we are more likely to have classic river flooding, along with sporadic flash flooding almost any time that strong storms cross anywhere near or north of our area in the upstream watershed.   

The long-range forecasters at the National Weather Service believe we might begin to see a change in our weather pattern this month.  We’re expecting cooler-than-normal temperatures and precipitation that is neither above nor below normal.  Admittedly, May can be a very rainy, stormy month.  And we’re expecting our peak severe weather risk from May through mid-June.  At least for now, the global forecasting signals are not painting a major rainfall target on North Texas at this time.  Regardless, it will take a couple months of near-normal or below-normal rainfall to eliminate the persistent flood threat we’re dealing with right now.   

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820 AM and 96.7 FM. He also hosts a local website; www.bradsweather.com.

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About The Author

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 "The Wolf." Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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