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July was cool for much of the state, with average temperatures kept down due to upper air troughs and some unusual frontal activity for this time of year. Precipitation-wise, it was more of a mixed bag. North central, the eastern border, and parts of central Texas all saw well-above normal precipitation accumulations, with much of the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle seeing monsoon rainfall. The rest of the state, however, didn’t see normal accumulations, with conditions near Midland/Odessa and the Coastal Bend particularly bad with less than 25% of normal rainfall. In spite of this, statewide water supplies have held out through the month, having only decreased less than a percent net at a time when the median drop is nearly 3%. Individual communities are still having problems though: Kaufman and McKinney are cracking down on water waste, using local police to enforce their restrictions and, in the latter’s case, increasing their restrictions to Stage 3. Austin is considering adding a new interim restriction stage as the city moves closer to requiring Stage 3 restrictions themselves. Utility companies in North Central Texas are losing money due to continued restrictions, and despite the price of water increasing across the northern parts of the state, cities are looking at budget shortages of anywhere between $700,000 and $4 million.

Agricultural conditions were complicated by the lack of rain in many parts of the state. The USDA reports as much as 64% of the state’s planting regions are either short or very short on topsoil and subsurface soil moisture. Development and harvests of corn, sorghum, sunflowers, rice, and cotton are all behind their averages as well as behind 2013 levels, though separate reports show that the crops themselves are in good conditions for now, with 6% of corn, 22% of cotton, and 12% of sorghum rated as poor or very poor; cotton has been getting worse in the last few weeks of July, however. However, some good news for other regions of the state still exist, with South Texas producing one of the first soybean harvests in the entire country, due to an adapted species of the plant, with 60 bushels per acre priced at $14 per bushel.

Severe weather events were not common this month, with only a handful of tornado and hail reports. July 15 saw severe storms in west Texas produce two EF-0 toradoes in the Panhandle and heavy rains across central Texas, knocking power out to 7,000 in San Antonio and another 2,000 in the Metroplex. Storms in the East at the end of the month did the same, leaving 3,400 without power in Houston and causing local flash floods.
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