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Precipitation in October was below normal across most of the state, with exceptions being the Trans Pecos, Coastal Bend, and several counties in East Texas. The lack of precipitation combined with much above normal October temperatures across all of Texas to decrease statewide reservoir levels from 63.7% of capacity at the beginning of October to 62.1% by the end of the month. The Rio Grande was the only river basin out of the 15 in Texas to show an increase in water during October. Reservoirs in the San Antonio River Basin are at 3.5% capacity, and to mitigate the lack of water, the city of San Antonio recently approved of a $3.4 billion project that, when completed, will bring 16 billion gallons of water per year from Burleson County. Early in November, the Texas Water Development Board will officially create rules for prioritizing State Water Implementation Funds for Texas (SWIFT), which will provide $27 billion for water project over the next 50 years and includes $800 million per year over the next decade.

Despite the lack of rainfall in many regions of the state, agricultural conditions largely remained as they were as the end of September. Most regions saw a gradual slide to worsened topsoil and subsurface soil moisture conditions, but crops themselves were rated the same, with only small variations in each crop’s average condition with no change overall in crop condition index. Harvesting of peanuts in the northeast and deep south Texas is behind its 5 year average by 21% and soybeans are behind their by 26%, hindered slightly by intermittent rainfall across the state during the month. The winter wheat crop is still ahead of its 5-year average in terms of maturation, but reports indicate that continued dry conditions could threaten the crop’s further development.

The beginning of October saw a few storm systems move through the state that manage to produce severe wind, hail, and a single tornado report. On October 2, the tail end of a front passed through east Texas, causing moderate wind and hail damage to the Metroplex and other north central Texas cities; around 250,000 people were without power across the area due to 90 mph winds. A storm system mid-month knocked power out to 2,500 people in the Panhandle from 75 mph winds and tennis ball size hail. That same system passed through central and east Texas, bringing severe hail and an EF1 tornado, though damage estimates were minimal.
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