Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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September 20, 2013

It’s such a relief!

Parched landscape welcomes rainfall, lower temps

Athens — Heavy rains interrupted the dry Henderson County September on Friday, bringing some relief to the parched landscape.

The National Weather Service reported that .38 inches had fallen in the 24-hour period that ended at 9 a.m., after  only  .01 of an inch had been recorded in the month previously.  The NWS predicted that the day would bring 1.5 to two inches of rain throughout the county with scattered spots getting larger amounts. Some of the heaviest rain was reported in Corsicana with 6.35 inches falling by 1 p.m..

Meteorologist Steve Fano said the convergence of weather conditions, including two tropical systems, led to the downpours.

“We had Hurricane Ingrid, which was off in the Gulf and Manuel, which was a tropical system in the eastern Pacific,” Fano said. “Moisture from those systems got caught up in the upper-level winds and were brought right over North Texas.”

The Trinity River rose more than nine feet in the Dallas area during the Friday storm. The river gauge at the Trinity River showed an increase from 7.79 feet at 3 a.m. to 8.41 feet at 7 p.m. The level remained far below the flood stage of 33 feet.

Henderson County was placed under a flash flood alert from 11:17 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., followed by a flash flood watch which was set to expire at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Athens average rainfall for September is 2.56 inches, but the totals over the past 30 years have varied widely from 7.30 inches in 2012 to .65 inches in 1999. In 2012, two days of heavy rainfall accounted for the bulk of the total. On Sept. 14, 2.20 inches of rain was reported at Athens Municipal Airport and 4.78 inches was reported on Sept. 30. On 25 of the 30 days, there was no rainfall at all.

Fano said the next few days should be cooler and dryer, but we’re seeing the emergence of seasonal weather patterns that can bring more rain.

“It does look like the weather system is changing, which is normal for this time of year,” Fano said. “The jet stream is dipping a little bit farther south. By Friday night and Saturday of next week, we could see increasing chances of rain.”

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