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May of 2015 was a historic month of rainfall for the state as it was the wettest month in Texas history with an average of 8.81”. The previous record was set back in June of 2004 at 6.66”. Changes in drought conditions and depictions were significant: at the beginning of the month ~30% of the state was under a moderate drought, while at the end of the month only about 1% of the state remained under a moderate drought. This is the lowest percentage since May of 2010. Once the rainfall started it seemed like it never stopped with consistent lines of slow moving thunderstorms. State reservoirs now stand at 83.3% full which is a 10% jump since the start of the month. Dallas- area reservoirs increased from 64% of capacity in March to more than 95% of capacity. Wichita Falls ended the month under a Stage 2 water restriction, having started under Stage 5 Drought Catastrophe. Not all of the state saw the same improvements, however, as both Abilene and San Angelo are sitting at near record low reservoir storage—12 and 22 percent of capacity, respectively.

Agriculturally, the flooding that has occurred across multiple parts of the state has washed out a lot of crops. In the Rio Grande Valley, some farmers are saying that their entire summer batch of squash has been washed completely out. This problem stretches all across the state since flooding has been a big issue throughout the month. Other crops that are still being planted, such as cotton, are behind schedule due to the extreme rainfall and saturation of soils across the state; cotton planting is 10 percent behind the last several years’ average. Despite the problems with saturated topsoil, the recent rains did much to ease the subsoil moisture loss from the last several years, as now only 5% of croplands are short or very short. Ecologically, cattle have an abundance of water from the rains, and pastures and rangeland improved such that only 5% are poor or very poor and 72% are good or excellent.

This month will go down in history as the wettest month in Texas history. Many areas of the state saw record breaking rainfall such as in Gainesville where nearly 30 inches of rain fell throughout the month. Several fatalities were recorded due to the flooding. There were also several tornadoes that caused damage in Runaway Bay, as well as in Cisco, where one person was killed. One person was also killed in a tornado that moved through Cameron. Areas southwest of Houston and near Austin in Wimberley were hit the hardest with flooding as well as fatalities due to the flooding.
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