For the second time in a year heavy weather blasted New Mexico, Texas and parts of Oklahoma beginning on Friday, Oct 23, the results of multiple weather systems combining over troubled areas of the region to bring some rural parts of Texas record rainfall amounts over one 24 hour period.
Nearly 24 inches or rain - that's just short of two feet of water - pounded parts of Navarro and Robertson Counties in Central Texas, the hardest hit in by heavy rains in the state, forcing streams and gullies to flood over roads, pastures and cutting off motorists for several hours on Friday.
On Thursday baseball size hail plummeted fields in parts of the Southern Plains near Lubbock, a trio of tornadoes that failed to touch ground were reported in Nueces County in the Coastal Bend.
Water rescues were numerous in the Dallas, San Antonio and Austin areas as remnants of Hurricane Patricia, which assailed the Mexican coast late last week, pelted the Southwest even as a low pressure system parked over the region slowly moved across the state adding insult to injury.
Weather forecasters with the National Weather Service in San Antonio report winds aloft carried the moisture rich air from the Pacific, the result of a strong El Niño system that also brought historic rain to the region last spring. On top of that, heavy Gulf moisture added to the mix, setting up for the heavy storms that developed through Saturday, eventually moving off to the east by late Saturday and early Sunday morning.
In addition to record downpours in Navarro county, other parts of Texas were pounded by more than a foot of rain since Friday, shutting down busy highways and derailing a train. But the relentless showers did not pack the destruction of the Memorial Day storms earlier this year, which killed more than 30 people in Texas and Oklahoma and stranded 2,500 cars around Houston at the start of the summer season.
As of Monday morning only one person was reported still missing in San Antonio after a man was washed off a low water crossing bridge on Saturday.
County agents and Texas farmers and ranchers are reporting mixed damage across wide areas of the state, but the extent of those damages to crops are still being assessed. Cotton and peanut farmers in the plains seem to be the most affected from high winds and some scattered reports of hail.
Harvest operations skidded to a standstill across most of Texas and parts of Oklahoma late last week and it may be several days before they resume. In eastern parts of Texas, which have suffered the greatest from dry conditions through the summer months, the rains were a welcome sight. But most say a slow, drenching rain would have been better for thirsty crops. Substantial rain, however, will help to replenish soil moisture and for the most part may be beneficial to winter wheat and oats, though additional planting will be delayed by several days.
The forecast for the week calls for lots of sunshine to most areas of the Southwest, a welcome site after several days of intense storming.
Video provided by NRCS.