E. Texas officials wish for steady rain, not downpour

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Drivers have their windshield wipers on. Water runs down the streets. A very different picture from the dry, hot days of summer.

"We hope this is a sign of what will continue to happen, but the forecasters are saying no, another 12 to 18 months of drought conditions," said Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter. "I hope we don't have another summer like we did this last year. It affects everyone, timber industry, fireworks industry, fishing industry and that's a lot of our bread and butter right here in East Texas, especially with Sam Rayburn."

He says a slow, steady rain over a long period of time would be better than sporadic downpours.

"It's a welcome sight," Suiter said. "We surely need it. I just hope it will spread out and continue as we go into the spring and the summer time."

The Texas Forest Service says this time of year, it doesn't take long for the earth to dry out with all the dead grass and fuels on the ground.

"Not sure about the real deep surface moisture, how far down it goes," said Jeff Durant of TFS. "It's helped, but I know there's areas that are still drier than others."

Angelina County officials say a few more days of steady rain would help raise lake levels.

Suiter said all the water running off and into the streets is a sign that the ground is no longer absorbing all of the rainfall.

"I think our ground is now kind of saturated so a lot of it is not soaking in," Suiter said. "It is running off. I wish we could bottle it and save it."

Although that's not an option, foresters say the run-off will help ponds and lakes to go back again.

Water accumulating on the ground also indicates the soil is becoming more saturated.

But, only time will tell if the rain will be nothing more than temporary relief.

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