Friday, December 1, 2023

Looking back on a rainy year

Meteorologist Brad Barton

2020 weather-wise will be remembered as “the rainy year.” December rainfall was running below normal until New Year’s Eve, but ended up well over two inches, (2.46” as of 4 p.m. Dec. 31).

A low of 19 degrees was recorded at Denton Enterprise Airport on December 1st. There were at least nine nights with lows in the 20’s.

The warmest temperature was 79 on the 9th. Average high was 60, average low was 30 (as of Christmas Day). The day/night average temperature for the month was 45.5, which was near normal. No severe weather was reported.

The Climate Prediction Center forecasts January to be warmer and drier than normal. Occasionally, the subtropical jet stream in the Pacific can surprise us by transporting tons of moisture across Mexico into Texas, which can produce an unusually heavy rain event during the winter months.

2020 Recap 

January started off the year with generous rains and temperatures that averaged 5 degrees above normal. On January 10th, severe weather struck Boyd in Wise County. A brief tornado flipped over an 18-wheeler around LBJ and MacArthur in Northwest Dallas County. Dense fog in late January resulted in over 100 delayed or cancelled flights.

February temperatures were near normal, but rainfall of over 3 inches was above normal.

March was much wetter than normal with over 10 inches of rain during the month. Severe weather threatened Denton County on the 18th, but most of the storms in Wise, Jack and Young Counties weakened before reaching Denton.

April rainfall was about one inch short, however, the temperature soared to 97 degrees on the 8th. Denton County was hit by strong thunderstorm winds on April 18th. Sanger, Providence and Aubrey got the worst of it with estimated 60-70 mph winds.

May was another rainy month, with over 7 inches, nearly two inches above normal. Severe weather struck twice, with gusty winds on the 15th and golf ball hail on the UNT campus May 24th.

June was also rainy with 7.33″.  Minor wind damage was reported from 62 mph winds recorded at Denton Enterprise Airport. Storms late that month caused numerous house fires in and around Lantana.

July finally got hot with several days at or above 100 degrees. No severe weather was reported.

August was even hotter with a 7-day stretch of 100+ weather. Strong storms on the western fringe of Hurricane Laura caused significant wind damage in Robson Ranch and at Justin on the 26th.

September was wetter than normal with nearly 6 inches of rain. Denton Enterprise Airport reported a 49 mph wind gust with the first real cold front of fall on the 28th.

October kept the cooling trend going, but rainfall of 2.25” was over 2 inches below normal.  The first official freeze, (31 degrees) was recorded on the 30th.

November was warm and exceedingly dry with barely an inch of rain, probably one of the driest Novembers ever recorded in North Texas.

For the year, unofficial figures indicate Denton received about 44 inches of rain, roughly 14 inches above normal, with the bulk it coming during spring and early summer.

Brad Barton
Brad Barton
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820 and 570 KLIF. His video weather podcast is posted to and Facebook around noon every Thursday. You can follow Brad on Twitter @BradBartonDFW

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