Year of extreme weather going out mildly
Dec. 27, 2011 at 6:27 a.m.
Bans against outdoor burning are in place in Victoria and Calhoun counties.
Forecasts for the remainder of the work week call for sunny skies with high temperatures near the 70s.
The first chance of rain creeps into the forecast New Year's Eve night, Saturday, at 20 percent.
If the forecasts hold true, weather in the Crossroads should end the year on a quiet note - a contrast from most of 2011.
The year will be remembered for record-setting extremes, including 25 consecutive days of 100 degree temperatures in Victoria, as well as the record drought and the many wildfires brought about in part by the dry conditions.
The drought is the most severe one-year drought on record in Texas, said John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist.
Meteorologist Jason Runyen, of the National Weather Service, said 2011 was a unique year.
"I've been in the National Weather Service since 2002, and was in private sector forecasting from 1998-2002. In general, I don't recall a year of extremes like this across South Texas or the U.S.," Runyen said.
In addition to a bevy of heat-related records - mostly in August - new marks were also set in Victoria for low temperatures during September.
While rainfall totals from various reporting stations vary, some areas of the Crossroads got some significant precipitation in the days leading up to Christmas.
Victoria totaled less than an inch, .91 over Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and has seen 1.35 inches in December.
But Runyen said those rains have done little in terms of long-term drought relief across the Victoria region.
Goliad County had one station report 1.3 inches on Thursday, which helped boost the monthly total.
"We have had 3.11 inches for the month of December, which is usually one of the driest months of the year," said Brian Yanta, Goliad County Extension agent. "December has brought our yearly total up to almost 17 inches for the year, about half of our yearly rainfall average total."
The year will go down as the second driest calendar year on record in Victoria with 13.08 inches as of Tuesday, Runyen said.
The December cloud bursts have Yanta optimistic.
"It has been a welcome site and a great Christmas gift and hopefully a precursor to a happy New Year," he said.