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Weekend moisture was good but won't make much difference for a thirsty Crossroads

By ALLISON MILES
Dec. 13, 2011 at 6:13 a.m.


DID YOU KNOW?

A closer look at Victoria's rainfall:

2011 total thus far: 11.98 inches

At this point in 2010: 45.5 inches

Victoria sits at a 27-inch rainfall deficit.

Source: John Metz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service

The light mists and sporadic rainfall that hit the Crossroads this weekend were a welcome sight, but experts say it won't do much to relieve the dry conditions.

Victoria sits at a 27-inch rainfall deficit, said John Metz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi. The city has received 11.98 inches so far.

"That's over two feet of rain that we did not get this year," he said.

Three factors combined to bring the moisture to the Crossroads, Metz said. A Canadian cold front blew in, he said, as well as a storm system from the Pacific Ocean, which merged with moisture that moved north from the Gulf of Mexico.

While it did bring about an inch of rain for some areas, such as regions north of Goliad and in West Port Lavaca, Victoria's .22s of an inch meant it had some of the lowest levels in the area.

Jeff Nunley, executive director of the South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, estimated the weekend rainfall might have provided moisture for the top inch or so of soil, but said that wouldn't last long.

The ground is so thirsty at this point, he said, that the Crossroads needs a good rain to help.

Regardless, he said any rain was good rain.

"Every little bit helps," he said. "But we're going to need more."

Anthony Netardus, DeWitt County extension agent, agreed the weekend moisture wasn't a drought-breaker, but said it provided some much-needed encouragement to those in agriculture.

"It looks like this dry drought pattern we've been in has changed course the last few weeks," he said, noting sprinkles and, in some areas, rain showers, that offered some relief.

If the pattern continues through winter, he said, it might be possible to bank soil moisture so farmers go into spring better than they originally anticipated.

The change even bolstered some people's confidence so much that a long-standing bull and female sale in DeWitt County, which some considered canceling due to parched conditions, is back on, Netardus said.

"This fall we were kind of shaky because ... everybody is selling cattle, rather than buying," he said. "But we got some moisture and people's attitudes are a little different."

Looking ahead, Metz said the region has a chance of rain all week, and will likely see temperatures in the 70s. Another front apparently will come in Thursday to the north of Victoria.

"That could help focus a better chance of rain that way," he said. "We've gotta start somewhere."

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