By CLINT FOSTER
Why has Mineral Wells enjoyed highs in the 70s or low 80s, green grass and one of the least oppressive weather weeks in July in recent memory?
In the words of early 1990s R&B duo Milli Vanilli, “Blame it on the rain.”
For four consecutive days, rains drenched Mineral Wells and the rest of North Texas. The total rainfall this week was 2.25 inches, the most rain Mineral Wells has received in the month of July since 2010 when the entire month yielded 2.79 inches. Thanks to the rain, Mineral Wells has only seen five days this July with temperatures in the triple digits.
At this point last year, Mineral Wells had only received 1.31 inches of rain in the month of July with temperatures consistently in the mid- to upper 90s. A total of 1.75 inches fell during all of July in 2012. Mineral Wells received no rain at all in July of 2011 and highs were over 100 degrees all month long.
National Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist Myron Merz said the rains could not have come at a better time for the area’s crops. With haying season in full swing, the showers gave grasses a much-needed boost that will help production.
“When we get this good of a rain in July, it’s sure going to help the grass and everything, as far as that goes, especially the native grasses,” he said. “It was kind of a slow, soaking rain that soaked into the ground real good, and that’s really good for the grass. It’s kind of a life saver because we were really hurting before this rain and grass was really struggling.”
Judi Pierce of the Brazos River Authority said the rains have already shown a positive effect on bodies of water in Palo Pinto County. She expects Possum Kingdom Lake, in particular, to rise significantly in the coming days.
“We are expecting PK will come up about a foot,” she said. “At this point we can’t put an exact number on it because water is still coming in. There was a great deal of rain in West Texas below Lubbock. So, some of that will be coming our way and some will be caught by different reservoirs along the way.”
In comparison to PK, Lake Granbury has risen approximately 6 inches and Pierce said she does not think that it will rise much more. She added that the Brazos River, which flows into PK Lake, is deeper now as well.
“It’s come up quite a bit,” she said. “Basically what happens is you have a great deal of runoff during rain events that slowly tapers out as it goes downstream. So, what we’ve seen, for instance at the gauge just above Possum Kingdom Lake, is it was slow coming in; it kind of went up rather quickly and it’s going to be slow coming down. As water flows into the lake, that gauge measures how much is coming. It’s declining at this point, but it’s not completely finished.”
Pierce explained that the Brazos is considered “standing still” when moving at 100 cubic feet per second. Consequently, the river has been moving particularly fast since the rains started. The river peaked around Wednesday evening, hitting speeds as fast as 3,510 ft3ps. As of Thursday morning, the Brazos was running at 2,330 ft3ps. Pierce urged those looking to spend time in the river soon to use caution with regards to the current speed.
As welcome as the recent rain was, it would appear that Mineral Wells and the surrounding areas could still benefit from more. Both Pierce and Merz agreed the amount of rain so far would still probably not be enough to get the area out of drought status.
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