July 18, 2014

Records fall for cool weather in North Texas

The low temperature Friday was 65 and the high was 77, both records for the day.

This unusual July cold front helped improve the levels of several lakes north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

It also brought a second consecutive day of record-breaking cool temperatures.

It was an October-like 65 degrees at 7:27 a.m. Friday at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, breaking the low temperature mark for the date set in 1945, when it was 67.

And at 3:53 p.m., the high at D/FW was 77 degrees, two short of record low high temperature of 79 degrees, which was set in 1967.

Thursday was a record-breaker with high of only 79.

The cool snap, however, isn’t going to last.

“It will start warming back up to normal Saturday or Sunday,” said Joe Harris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “And normal is about 95.”

Harris said temperatures could start “hedging toward 100 mid-to-late next week.”

While the cool temperatures were a nice break for July, the rain was much needed.

The big winner from Thursday’s rains, where as much as 11 inches fell in parts of Denton County, was Lake Ray Roberts, which had climbed nearly 2 feet from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m. Friday. Lake Amon Carter, a small lake in Montague County, jumped 2.8 feet.

For the Tarrant Regional Water District lakes, which supply raw water to almost all of Tarrant County, the gains were minimal. Both Lake Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain Lake gained between 2 and 3 inches. There were also slight gains at Lake Worth, Richland Chambers Reservoir and Cedar Creek.

“We will see a little water in Eagle Mountain and Bridgeport, which is always welcome,” said David Marshall, the water district’s engineering services director. “I only expect an increase of three to six inches in Eagle Mountain and less in Bridgeport.”

Though there were some heavy rain in Wise County near Lake Bridgeport, most of it fell east of the drainage area for Lake Bridgeport, where U.S. 287 is the eastern boundary.

To the east, Lake Lewisville gained about a foot and Lake Grapevine gained about a half foot while Lake Lavon in Collin County saw a slight increase of about 2 inches.

Jim McClain, a hydraulic engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, said the heavy rains in Denton County were split between the Ray Roberts and Lewisville watersheds.

“When the runoff gets divided between two or more lakes, you just don’t see that much of a rise,” McClain said.

Thursday’s rains caused flooding around Valley View and Sanger in Denton County, where Interstate 35 and at least 29 county roads were closed for several hours.

But Bob Carle, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, said the rain did have its benefits.

“Normally, this time of year, we’re looking at hot, dry conditions and huge evaporation losses,” Carle said “Any rainfall we can get this time of year is a bonus.”

The latest edition of the state’s drought monitor came out Thursday and showed that 87 percent of Texas is still in some form of a drought, down slightly from a week ago.

The drought monitor, which does not include Thursday’s rain, show parts of Tarrant County are in extreme drought and some areas west and northwest of Fort Worth are in exceptional drought.

Staff writer Lee Williams contributed to this report.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

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