Spring storms have filled local reservoirs, turned low-lying streets and parks into lakes and lifted watering restrictions.
On Monday, the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) removed Stage 1 water restrictions, which mandated twice-a-week only outdoor watering constraints that had been in place since June 2013.
“For all intents and purposes, we are out of the drought,” said Jason Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
By Sunday, the Mansfield area had already had more rain than all of last year, Dunn said. So far this year, the area has had 22.20 inches of rain, compared to 21.96 inches in 2014. Average rainfall by May 17 is 13.78 inches, he said.
Storms roared through southern Tarrant, Ellis and Johnson counties early Sunday morning, dumping 3.86 inches between 1:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m., the weather service reported. Mansfield probably had even more, Dunn said, with rain gauges reporting 4.5 inches to 4.75 inches.
Katherine Rose Memorial Park, Oliver Nature Park, Town Park, Walnut Creek Drive, North Street and West Broad Street flooded during the Sunday morning storms.
“Walnut Creek did get out of its banks,” said city environmental manager Howard Redfearn. “So far, there are no reports of water in people’s houses.”
The storm came in surges, Redfearn said, instead of all at once like in 2010 when several homes flooded and put Katherine Rose Memorial Park even deeper underwater.
Cedar Creek, Richland Chambers and Benbrook Lake, which supply water to Mansfield, are all at 100 percent, as are most of North Texas lakes, Dunn said. Although Stage 1 restrictions are lifted, Mansfield ordinance requires that residents not water between 10 a.m.-6 p.m., said Joe Smolinski, the city’s director of utility operations.
“That’s when the sun is at its peak and the majority of the water will evaporate,” Smolinski said.
Although the area is still listed as abnormally dry, Dunn expects that to change when the U.S. Drought Monitor updates its data this week.
“Drought is a long-term thing,” he said. “When you get an abundance of rain, it takes time to soak into the ground and fill up the lakes. All of this water soaks in and everything greens up. Eventually, it runs off into the rivers when the ground can’t absorb anymore. The long-term drought will continue to improve, even after it stops raining.”
But the National Weather Service says North Texas isn’t going to dry out anytime soon, Dunn said.
“Showers look to continue at least until the end of the week,” he said.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451