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Texas saw above-normal rainfall almost across the board in May, with the exception of north central and parts of west Texas. This was largely thanks to a slow moving upper level low pressure system that helped provide Gulf-driven rainfall to the entire state. Statewide, reservoirs improved moderately, jumping 2.5 percent. Lake Conroe was at capacity for the first time since April 2010, for instance, but the rains were certainly not a drought buster. Heavily impacted areas, such as the Highland Lakes near Austin and reservoirs on the Upper Brazos River, are still suffering, as their improvements brought them from below record low to record low levels for this time of year. Wichita Falls, despite the recent rains, officially began Stage 5, Drought Catastrophe water restrictions this month. Several small communities across the state are in danger of running out of drinking water within 45-90 days, leading small loans to be given out by the Texas Department of Agriculture, such as the $350,000 well loan for Pebble Beach in Bandera County. As planning for the future of Texas’s water supply continues, debate on the true number for future water use falls under scrutiny, as new reports argue that less than half of 2.7 trillion estimated gallons of water would be needed; this would encompass all of the controversial $3.3 billion reservoir proposed for the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Winter wheat production is estimated to be down from 2013. The USDA estimated that though the 29 bushels per acre is unchanged from last year, only 55.1 million acres, down from 65.3 million acres, expected to be harvested; the Blacklands were the worst off, dropping 36 percent in their estimated acres harvested. Other Texas grains harvests are expected at 1.9 million acres, down 16 percent from this time last year. By the end of the month, only 62% of cotton acreage had been planted, down from 74% last year and the 75% 5-year average. The recent rains have greatly helped the corn crop, with less than 10% poor to very poor and almost 50% being good to excellent, up from around 20% at the beginning of the month.

Texas saw multiple frontal passages throughout the month, which brought along thunderstorm related damages in addition to the rain. Early in the month, limited damages were limited, generally only minor property damage, though 37,500 people were reported to be without power in Dallas. The most notable damages occurred at the end of the month, with storms popping up all across the state. Tornadoes were reports from Midland and the High Plains to deep south Texas, the former seeing EF1 to EF3 tornadoes destroying industrial equipment and the latter seeing minor tornadoes knocking power out for 26,000 people.
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