The Attoyac Bayou along Highway 21 near San Augustine was just one of many bodies of water that were running above flood stage. Source: Tom Johnson
2015 will go down as the wettest May on record for Lufkin as 15.75" of rain fell at the Angelina County Airport.
Many of our weather watchers recorded over a foot of water in their rain gauges this past May.
The 27.26" of rain that fell during the three month period from March through May made it the wettest spring season on record.
The sub-tropical jet stream was set up right over Texas, providing us with flooding rains this 2015 spring season.
EAST TEXAS (KTRE) -
The 2015 spring season has just departed us, but it will not be forgotten in years to come as a result of all the widespread rain and flooding we saw in Deep East Texas.
In fact, there were two noteworthy records that were shattered at the Angelina County Airport, located just south of Lufkin, as a result of the heavy rains we saw this spring.
The 15.75” of rain that fell in the month of May made it the wettest May on record. In addition to that record, the 27.26” of rain recorded this spring, which is defined as the three month period from March 1st through May 31st, broke a new record for the rainiest spring season on record as well.
After going back and coordinating with the fine folks at the National Weather Service in Shreveport, I was able to put together two graphics that shows the top ten wettest May's and spring seasons on record. You can see those two tables in the attached images. The one thing that stands out is that not only did Lufkin break two significant rainfall records, but it shattered the previous records that were number one for quite some time.
Keep in mind that our station of record is just one location encompassing a vast territory of Deep East Texas. Therefore, I have another image that has some of our higher weather watcher May rainfall totals, just to give a broader perspective of just how much rain fell close to your neighborhood. On average, about ten-to-fifteen inches of rain fell this past month, with a few locations receiving even higher amounts.
We were not the only ones who had a record breaking spring when it came to rainfall. In fact, both Dallas and Houston had their wettest spring season on record as well in 2015. That was noted with both cities enduring multiple rain events that led to street flooding and significant river flooding, which caused devastation to homes and businesses.
Even areas in central and west Texas got so much rain that it erased, most, if not all of their drought. At this time only three percent of the state is currently in a drought, which is down from forty percent just three months ago.
This record breaking rainfall that the Lone Star state dealt with had to do with the return of El Nino, which is a warming of the sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. When El Nino conditions develop, it alters the weather patterns around the world, causing the jet stream and the storm track to align it itself in a certain manner. This causes some areas to go dry, while others get blasted with heavy rains and flooding.
In our case, El Nino formation leads to cooler and wetter weather for us in Texas. The subtropical jet stream sets up over the state, bringing in Pacific moisture and a plethora of disturbances, all of which trigger widespread rain and thunderstorms. This pattern would not budge, which is why we never went more than two days in a row without some part of our viewing area receiving some showers and thunderstorms.
To put the amount of rain the state of Texas received in the month of May into perspective, The National Weather Service in Fort Worth said there was enough rain to cover the entire state with water eight inches deep. That equates to 35 trillion gallons of water. Yep, that's right, 35,000,000,000,000 gallons. That is astonishing and is really hard to fathom that Mother Nature could unleash that amount of rain in a 31 day time span in one state. Or is it? After all, many lakes that were empty are now full again. Plus, many creeks, rivers, and bayous rose above bankfull stage and, in some cases, climbed to record levels. In some regards, I guess it would take a phenomenal amount of water to do that; and 35 trillion gallons was just that, phenomenal.