Despite much desired rainfall, Austin remains in a drought

Bobby Blanchard

UT received an average of 2.38 inches of rain this weekend, with 98 percent of recorded rainfall happening Sunday night.

Markus Hogue, program coordinator of Irrigation and Water Conservation at the University, said the campus received 2.09 inches of rain at the Tower, 2.53 inches of rain at the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center and 2.54 inches of rain at the Facilities Complex.

Troy Kimmel, geography lecturer and KEYE meteorologist, said the rainfall was caused by low pressure areas and daytime heating. Kimmel said the rainfall was slightly heavier than he initially thought it would be, and some areas in Austin received up to seven inches of rain.

“Most of the rain fell in the city and just west of the city,” Kimmel said. “The beneficial rains we need for the area is out west. Most of the rain fell east of Lake Travis, so we’re not going to see that much improvement.”

Kimmel said while there was a small raise in the water level at Lake Travis, most of the rainfall flowed into the Colorado River. Kimmel said this month has been wetter than average, but Austin is still in a drought.

“The question is: ‘Is this a trend or is this a one time thing?’” Kimmel said. “It does look like the remainder of this week and into the weekend will be drier.”

But Kimmel said the chances for rain were not going away, just diminishing.

Heavy lightning in the storm Sunday night left about 5,000 people without power during the storm’s peak at 8:00 p.m., according to a statement released by Austin Energy. The statement said most people had power back at 10:00 p.m., but about 150 customers still had no power at midnight.

Austin Energy spokeswoman Leslie Sopko said the majority of power had been restored.

“Austin Energy is still working on some scattered outages but nothing major,” Sopko said. “We currently have 19 trouble calls.”