Skip Nav

Texas Climate Report: December 2021


The last month of 2021 was marked with extremely dry conditions and extremely warm temperatures. As a result of an active La Nina, Texas weather is typically expected to be warmer and drier than normal, and that is exactly what was observed across December. This month was the 10th driest December from the last 127 years with a state average precipitation total of 0.62”. This value was 1.16” less than the long term mean of 1.78”. Furthermore, this month was the warmest December from the last 127 years with a state average temperature of 59 °F. This value is incredibly warm for a Texas December as it was 12.1 °F warmer than the long-term mean of 46.9 °F. As a result of the exceptionally warm and dry month, the majority of the state found itself suffering from drought conditions, especially in North and West Texas.

Severe Weather

Across December several severe weather events including hail and one tornado were observed across the state. Starting on the 10th, 1” hail was reported in Collin County. The following day on the 11th, 1” hail was reported in Bowie County as well as 2” hail reported in Red River County. These two counties also had reports of strong winds with 62 MPH wind gusts reported in Red River County and tree damage reported in Bowie County. One week later on the 18th, several more hail events were reported in Bexar, Bandera, and Wilson counties. While Bexar and Bandera counties reported 1.0” hail, Wilson County reported 2.0” hail. Furthermore, on the 18th at 16:52 UTC an EF1 Tornado in Montgomery County traveled a distance of 1.56 miles with a max width of 100 yards until 16:54 UTC. No casualties were reported due to the tornado however many trees were uprooted and snapped as a result.


December 2021 was an extremely dry December in Texas. West Texas in particular was extremely dry with no county recording more than 1” of rainfall across the entire month. The Panhandle and Big Bend Country were the driest regions in the state with average precipitation in these regions being less than 0.1”. The Hill Country, South Texas Plains, and Lakes and Prairies Region also were particularly dry with these regions recording between 0.1” to 1.75” of precipitation. Along the Gulf Coast and in East Texas, precipitation was higher with rainfall between 1-4” in most counties. Cass, Marion, Limestone, Walker, Montgomery, and Harris counties were some of the wettest in the state with 4-4.75” of precipitation, however, Leon and Falls's counties were the wettest with 4.75-5.5”.

Twenty-four counties recorded their driest December on record with 0.00 inches of precipitation across the month. These counties were: Dallam, Sherman, Hansford, Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Hartley, Moore, Hutchinson, Roberts, Hemphill, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray, Wheeler, Collingsworth, Bailey, Motley, Dickens, Crosby, Hockley, Terry, Sterling, and Jeff Davis.




As of January 4th, 2022, 92% of the state was classified as being at least abnormally dry. 80% of the state was in moderate drought, 54% of the state was in severe drought, and 17% of the state was in extreme drought. The remaining  8% of the state had no drought conditions. As of January 4th, the Panhandle, southern Big Bend Country, and between the Brazos and Pecos rivers were experiencing the majority of the extreme drought conditions in the state. While not extreme, the majority of North and Central Texas were experiencing moderate to severe drought. The South Texas Plains and Gulf Coast were experiencing the least amount of drought conditions with the majority of these regions being abnormally dry or having no drought conditions. 


Across December, drought conditions worsened across the state. The Panhandle, North Texas, and Big Bend Country were the main regions that experienced worsening drought conditions. Between the Brazos and Pecos Rivers, drought conditions had mainly no change however this area was already experiencing some of the driest conditions in the state from the previous month. The majority of the remainder of the Panhandle, Big Bend Country, and North Texas experienced 1 or 2 class degradations across the month. Archer, Clay, Montague, and Cooke County had the worst drought conditions change across the month with these 4 counties experiencing 3 class degradations. While some counties in the Piney Woods region experienced no drought change, the majority of the region experienced a 1 class degradation over the month. Zapata, Jim Hogg, Starr, Bowie, Red River, Bell, and Falls counties were the only counties in the state which experienced drought improvement all with 1 class.



Temperature anomalies throughout December were very extreme across the state. The vast majority of the state experienced temperatures 8-12 °F warmer than normal. The Piney Woods and Lakes and Prairies regions had many counties with even higher departures of 12-16 °F warmer than normal. Wise County experienced the most extreme departure in the state across the month with temperatures 16-20 °F warmer than normal. A few counties in the Panhandle and Big Bend Country experienced slightly lower temperature departures of 4-8 °F warmer than normal, however, no county in the state recorded anything below 4 °F warmer than normal. 

Every county in the state outside of Dallam County and Hartley County experienced their warmest December on record. Dallam and Hartley counties both experienced their second warmest December on record.



Geosciences TAMU Logo

Aggies can change the world. Geoscientists lead the way.