Weather

It’s been the wettest 4 years on record in DFW. See how much more rain is on the way

If it seems like it has been unusually wet lately, it’s not your imagination.

The last four years is the wettest on record at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the official reporting station.

A total of 190.68 inches fell between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2018, besting the previous 4-year record that ended in 1992 by almost eight inches.

“It’s not a surprise when you look at the wettest years on record and 2015 was No. 1 and 2018 was No. 2,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Godwin.

And the signs are the wet conditions will be sticking around. Since Dec. 1, 5.68 inches of rain have fallen at DFW Airport, which is 2.56 inches above normal.

More rain is on the way Friday. A cold, steady rain will dump anywhere from a half-inch to an inch in DFW into Friday night, forecasters say.

All the area lakes are full or close to conservation level. Many creeks and streams currently also have water in them.

“We certainly could get a little flooding and ponding in low-lying areas,” Godwin said. “We’re not worried about flash flooding.”

The wet weather has taken its toll around lakes and streams, making hiking or bike trails muddy or impassable but it hasn’t hurt everybody.

At Augie’s Sunset Cafe on Eagle Mountain Lake, the cold, rainy weather would seem likely to hurt business. Winter is already the slow season, but the place was packed last weekend when the weather was nice, said Denny Steward, the manager of Augie’s.

“With the restaurant across the lake burning down, we’re really about the only place on the lake right now,” Steward said.

And if extreme weather conditions like flooding hit the lake, Steward said the crowds show up.

“They want to see the high water,” Steward said. “It’s really weird. I don’t know what it is about people out here. They’re really weird.”

David Marshall, director of engineering and operations support at the Tarrant Regional Water District, said the weather pattern over the last year has been really unusual. TRWD provides raw water to most of Tarrant County and owns the following lakes: Eagle Mountain, Bridgeport, Richland-Chambers and Cedar Creek.

“The February, September and October volumes were beyond extraordinary,” Marshall said. “You usually don’t see that in those months.”

The latest El Niño update released Thursday also favors wet conditions continuing through the rest of winter. The forecast calls for a weak El Niño, which typically brings cool, wet conditions to the southern United States.

If the wet conditions are still in place in a couple of months, it may lead to more serious flooding problems this spring.

“Let’s say this continues all the way through February,” Godwin said. “If we get into spring that could cause some concern.”

So far, the flows have been manageable, Marshall said, but El Niño increases the chances of a wet pattern this spring.

“It’s a roll of the dice for that six-inch rainfall in 24 hours that could really cause problems,” Marshall said. “If that happens, I would expect it to come in May.”

The month of May is typically the wettest month of the year but as Marshall said, there’s been nothing normal about the weather over the last year.

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Bill Hanna is an award-winning reporter who has covered just about every beat at the Star-Telegram. He currently covers Arlington but also writes about a variety of subjects including weather, wildlife, traffic and health.
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