Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rain, Or Lack Of It

It's been painfully dry down here for the last eighteen months, and I was curious enough to do some research last weekend.

Average annual rainfall in Austin (using the old Mueller Airport, then Camp Mabry stations) is 33.48 inches (data goes back to 1856).

In the last 18 months, we've gotten 21.24 inches.

I looked at the annual records, and the lowest rainfall for a two-year period was 33.96 inches in 1954-1955. It was a terrible drought, because there was only 15.41 inches in 1956, so the drought lasted three years.

There was also a severe drought in 1878-1879, when there was only 39.90 inches of rain.

There has never been another two year period where the total rainfall was less than 40 inches.

It's not an exact comparison, because this drought started in October of 2007, so it's not quite apples-to-apples on a yearly basis, but there's no question that we are in very sad shape right now. Agriculture is particularly hurting (many crops are a total loss), and foundation repair companies can't even keep up with all the business.

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