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October started off after a strong frontal passage occurred on the last weekend of September. Despite somewhat frequent and weak frontal passages, rain was hard to come by for most of the state; precipitation was well below average in October and the statewide total rivals the driest month since 1952. However, temperatures have been below average for much of the state. Conditions in October have been of great importance to farmers across the state. After some harvest delays due to intermittent rains, many crops are poor, including cotton, which has come in better numbers this year but in worse condition than last year; while sheer sale numbers for cotton are up, princes are down nearly 40%, offsetting much of the higher yield. Outlooks for winter wheat, rice, and pumpkin are high, however, due to the lower temperatures helping to retain soil moisture. Rice farmers are particularly optimistic as the Lower Colorado River Authority is planning to release reservoir water for farmers, increasing harvestable land from 1500 acres to 24000.

The lack of rainfall has not helped the state’s hydrological problems, particularly in the west. While many regions relieved their water restrictions following the heavy rains at the end of September, water restrictions are still in place in San Angelo, Amarillo, and Wichita Falls, among others. The problems are still so prevalent in west Texas that many cities and agencies are trying to flesh out new methods of storing water, including a piping system between Odessa and San Angelo as part of a $53 billion set of potential solutions and a system of holding ponds built by the LCRA; the latter has no current cost estimate, but it’s projected to be upwards of several hundred million dollars. These measures are becoming more pertinent as water demands in dry areas increases, such as Amarillo, which set records for total water usage despite dry conditions and various conservation efforts.

Rain and storms still had their share of impacts during October despite being below average overall. Port Lavaca saw flooding from the remnants of the late September frontal passage after 6 inches of rain fell, accompanied by a tornado that damaged homes and businesses. Later in the month, a system brought storms to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, blacking out 22,000 homes and causing traffic accidents due to high water. Two other tornadoes were reported in Plainview and Raymondville causing minor damage.
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