Lakes recovering as May goes down in record books

Sometimes Islands Tuesday night

AUSTIN (KXAN) — May 2015 was, in Chief Weathercaster Jim Spencer’s words, “historic.”

At Camp Mabry, the official reporting site for Austin, 17.59 inches of rain fell in May, smashing the old May record of 14.10 inches, which was set back in 1895. Average rainfall for the month of May is only 4.52 inches, even though May is one of Central Texas’ wettest months. Camp Mabry had the entire monthly average fall – and then some – on Memorial Day, May 25: 5.20 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, setting a new daily record. With such high monthly totals, May, 2015 has now been ranked as Austin’s third wettest month on record, ever. April, 1915 is in second place, with 19.82 inches, and September, 1921 is first, with 20.78 inches.

So far this year, 30.25 total inches of rain have fallen at Camp Mabry. 13.53 total inches of rain is usual for this time of the year, so Camp Mabry is currently reporting totals that are 16.72 inches above average. For comparison, at this time last year, 11.08 total inches had fallen at Camp Mabry.

Timelapse of Lake Travis rising. (via YouTube)
Timelapse of Lake Travis rising. (via YouTube)

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is a secondary reporting site for Austin. ABIA reports 13.44 inches in May, more than three times its average of 4.45 inches. The airport has received 25.57 inches total in 2015, 11.52 inches over its usual expectations.

All of the rain has led to extreme flooding in Central Texas. The highest flood, ever, occurred on the Blanco River at Wimberley early Sunday morning. Low water crossings are still closed across Central Texas. Check the latest updates from ATX Floods here 

The flooding has led to major benefits for the Highland Lakes, though. Lake Travis shows the most drastic rises, leaping about 37 feet in the 31 days of May. Lake Travis is now its highest in four years. Lake Travis is also now less than four feet from its historical May and June average, and it is projected to continue to rise. Lake Buchanan has seen smaller rises, but it, too, is on an upward trend, displaying its highest totals now since the summer of 2012. Combined storage in the lakes is 65%. The lakes improved their status from “severe” to “cautious” conditions from May 1st to May 31st, and, if lakes continue to rise another combined 5%, the status will improve again, to “fair.”

On top of its wet conditions, May has seen below average temperatures, mainly thanks to rain-cooled air and cloudy skies. Adding up daily highs and lows, May, 2015 falls 1.4 degrees below its monthly average. May posted almost all days in the 80s with no 90-degree temperatures. In fact, Camp Mabry has only reported one 90-degree day so far in 2015: on April 25, the thermometer reported 93 degrees. One day in May topped out in only the 60s, May 12th, and six days in May only rose into the 70s.

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