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September was very wet for much of the southern and western parts of Texas, with several tropical rainfall events hitting the state and bringing several days of convective rainfall. North central and northeast Texas were dry, seeing below 50% of their normal rainfall on average across the regions. The resulting changes to state reservoir levels have been competing, with big improvements to long-standing low reservoirs out west—like Red Bluff Reservoir jumping 50% to its highest level since 1988—being washed out in the statewide average by continually-declining reservoirs in the Metroplex. New and existing plans for dealing with ongoing water supply problems continued to move forward this month. The LCRA has two plans in place, one for future water release planning where no water will be discharged unless the Highland Lakes are at a combined 50% capacity and one for a new reservoir—the first in decades—costing an estimated $215 million. San Antonio is planning a public-private venture that would added a 140 mile, $3.4 billion pipeline from Burleson County to the city in order to pipe in 50,000 acre-feet of water per year. Raymondville, in an ongoing dispute over water discharge along the Rio Grande, plans to drill for and treat 2 million gallons of groundwater per day in a new well project that’s estimated to cost $3.8 million.

September saw improvements to crop moisture and increased crop harvests. Almost all of Texas’s crops are at their 5-year average for harvesting by the end of the month, with the exception of peanuts, soybeans, and oats. Corn, cotton, and soybeans are behind their maturation for this time of year as well. Winter wheat is on par in terms of planting and emergence with 2013 September and is ahead of their 5-year average. Rangelands improved somewhat due to the rain, but mostly stayed in the same conditions as August. Beef prices reached another record high this month, which is being credited to the drought both here in Texas and in California.

Texas was quiet in terms of severe weather, with almost all reports statewide coming in a single event early in the month. Severe thunderstorms dropped hail and caused some wind damage in the southern Panhandle on September 2, but the big event this month was the remnants of Hurricane Odile dropping 10+ inches of rainfall across the low High Plains in the middle of the month. Flooding from the Pecos River up to Lubbock was seen, causing dozens of creek and riverbeds to rise up, washing out roads and stranding cars and claiming the life of one person.
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