Monday, September 19, 2011

You Can't Control the Weather

When I logged off the computer last Friday night, the weather forecast predicted a 20 to 40 percent chance of rain for four days, Sunday through Wednesday.  I woke up to thunder and lightning and a soft steady rain on Sunday morning.  The front paddock which is a high spot on our property had an inch or two of standing water on it.  What a beautiful sight it was, a great way to start the day.  Unfortunately, it didn't last long.

By 9:00am, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining and temperatures were creeping up.  I think the high on Sunday was only 90 degrees.  It was hot, but not nearly as hot as we had become accustomed to these past few months.  We only got half an inch according to the rain gauge.  We are grateful but it's not nearly enough.

I ran across an interesting article on about what it would take for us to catch up on rainfall for this year. The first map below divides the state into four regions according to how severe the drought has been in that region.  The legend indicates how many inches of rainfall each region would need to receive in just one month in order to recover from the drought.  Where we live straddles the line between the yellow and light green regions on this map. So for us, it would take 12-18 inches of rainfall in a one month period to break even for the year.  Like that's going to happen.  

What has made this situation even worse is that on top of the severe drought, we've had incredibly long stretches of 100+ temperatures.  We lost a dozen trees since last year.  These weren't young, barely established trees that were unaccustomed to or unsuited for this area either.  They were mature oaks, pines and cedars.  It's a sad thing to watch.  But besides the devastation to local vegetation, wildfires like the ones we saw in Bastrop, Walker, Grimes, Waller and Robertson counties earlier this month are a constant threat.  That's a list of just five major wildfires that were within 50 miles of our place.  There were other wildfires all over the state at the same time.  Resources are stretched very thin.

According to this next map, we will need approximately 24 to 28 inches of rainfall in the next six months to end this drought.  That's an average of over 4-1/2 inches per month.  I don't think the odds are in our favor. 

No rain means no hay.  No hay means ranchers cull their herds or sell out.  Smaller herds mean less meat supply and eventually higher prices.  If you can't grow hay, you can't grow any other crops either.  Minimal crops mean less supply and higher prices on those things too.

No, you can't control the weather.  No one can.  But pray for rain, people.  Even if your livelihood is not somehow tied to the land, even if the only livestock you own are a cat and a dog, a drought this widespread and this severe impacts the entire economy.   Pray for rain.


  1. That is amazing. Thanks for sharing all that. I did not know we were that bad off. 4 1/2 inches a month would devastate the construction industry unless it all fell at once and then dried up for the rest of the month.

  2. That is a shame. Sorry. We've been in a drought here in Florida for several years. I know it doesn't seem like it but we should normally get rain every day. Not any more.

  3. MDR -
    I knew it was bad, but didn't realize HOW bad until I saw the maps and read the numbers cited in the article. It's all a balancing act, all of life is a balancing act ...enough rain to keep the agricultural industry producing, enough good weather to keep the construction industry thriving, enough work to pay bills and feed the family, enough hours left over after work to ENJOY the family. It's all a balancing act and when one thing is out of kilter, all things suffers.

  4. Stephen -
    I know Texas isn't alone in our weather woes. Several states have been dealing with just the opposite problem and have experienced rampant flooding. I just hope and pray we have a wet winter.

  5. Amazing...and we can't shut off the rain! The farmers hay crops have been drenched! We have had about 2 weeks of summer then rain every day!!!

  6. Julie -
    Then you've had a rough hay year too. If I remember right, you guys grow some hay yourselves. Too much rain, not enough rain really makes for a bad hay year. Growers that have livestock themselves have to keep all or most of their bales for their own animals. If they do have some to sell, they have to charge more. It's hard on everybody. We have just enough stored to get us through until spring but the last five big squares we bought are only two-thirds the size and nearly twice the price because they had to be trucked in all the way from the Dakotas. It was the best we could do at the time.

    Genevieve -
    Me too, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I discovered WeatherUnderground recently, usually just keep track of the forecast on This is the first time I have read an actual article on the weather since I was a kid in school. It seems this has been a year of weather extremes in many parts of the country and Texas is no exception.

  7. We by no means have the drought you have but I would love to have lots more rain. We need it but I get more things done inside when it rains. LOL Have a blessed weekend!

  8. That's very true, Peggy. I keep a 'rainy day' list of inside projects. It's been so hot most of this summer, it's sort of become a 'rainy day or too dang hot to go outside' list.

    : )