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March of 2015 brought about wetter than normal conditions for some regions of the state, most notably in Southeast Texas where Houston saw the 7th wettest March on record and Galveston saw its 8th wettest. Another highlight from March was nearly 64% of the state being out of drought conditions as compared to 85% during March of 2014. The beginning of March was eventful with winter weather for the Northern and Central portions of the state, where nearly 5 inches of snow fell in the Panhandle in a day. Statewide reservoirs now stand at 70.1% full; this is coming up from 66% full at the beginning of the month. The Edwards Aquifer has benefited from the recent rains as well, having risen by 4 feet since the start of the month. Some North Texas cities such as Richardson are still under water restrictions however, and reservoirs farther west along the Red River saw smaller increases in their current storage.

Agriculturally, the rain has helped make an early, beautiful bloom of Texas wildflowers. The soggy grounds are causing issues for some farmers however because the soil is too wet to plant crops. A few months ago, soil moisture was too low and now it’s too high in some areas. In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, cotton and sugarcane struggled due to the cold and wet winter delaying planting of new crops and oversaturating existing crops. The warm and humid air is helping wheat and oats to grow though: winter wheat statewide is rated at least fair in 89 percent of planting regions, but that 11% poor to very poor is particularly relevant in the eastern Panhandle, which has been exceptionally dry in the previous several months. Ecologically, cattle are in great condition due to consistent rainfall. Farmers are able to grass-fed them in state now rather than take the cattle to where the conditions are more favorable.

At the start of the month, the western Texas Panhandle received nearly 5 inches of snow. With Spring beginning as well, it wasn’t surprising that there was a lot of flooding rain events in the Central and Southern portions of the state. Some places recorded nearly 4 inches of rain in one day. Warmer weather also made its way throughout the state. Many areas are seeing above average temperatures and even record-tying warm temperatures. El Paso tied a record for the warmest high temperature of 88 on March 29th. Earlier in the month, however, temperatures dipped down well below normal, with Waco in particular setting a new record low of 20 degrees on March 6.
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