The following is a joint analysis from STWX Strategic Meteorologist Dan Schreiber and Del Rio Weather Alerts Meteorologist Alex Menchaca. Most storm damage images were discovered on social media, including from the Eagle Pass News Leader and EPTXN Facebook pages.
Active weather across the southern Great Plains this week has resulted in numerous reports of damaging hail, wind, tornadoes, and flash flooding across the state of Texas. As of the morning of March 20th, Del Rio international Airport had received just over three inches of rain for the month of March – the third highest rainfall amount accumulated during the month on record – with still eleven days to go. This has worked to quench the severe drought conditions experienced since last summer.
Very early Thursday morning, around 2:30 AM, a powerful thunderstorm transitioned across the Rio Grande from Mexico and over Lake Amistad. This storm was accompanied by significant rotation as it moved over the Lake View area, just west of the Highways 90 & 277 intersection, although no tornado or funnel cloud has been publicly reported. However, large hail – between an inch to inch-and-a-half in diameter – was reported by multiple residents in the vicinity of the Lake Amistad Dam, as well as powerful winds. Although not confirmed on the ground due to the semi-rural area impacted, radar imagery indicated hail sizes of up to two inches, and wind potential as high as 70 miles per hour, which triggered several National Weather Service warnings for the storm as it moved northeasterly into Hill Country.
A second severe, supercell thunderstorm was experienced in Eagle Pass on the evening of March 19th, with similar – but slightly more dangerous – characteristics as it’s early morning twin in Del Rio. Unlike Del Rio’s storm, the Eagle Pass thunderstorm caused widespread damage across the city – especially the north and central portions – due to extremely powerful winds. Hail the size of ping-pong balls was also reported, and there have been unconfirmed reports of a tornado (as of Friday morning).
Similar to the Del Rio storm, the Eagle Pass storm moved across the Rio Grande at about 8:00 PM, leaving drifts of large hail accumulations as far north as Quemado. An extremely dangerous gust front formed just ahead of the storm, leading to widespread downed trees, downed power lines, structural damage, and even reportedly blew a roof off of a building. Law enforcement and Fire Department radio traffic became inundated with damage reports and storm-related emergencies, including a gas leak at a damaged property and an 18-wheeler flipped over on the Highway 57 just east of town.
According to Del Rio Weather Alerts' Meteorologist Alex Menchaca, the Del Rio/Eagle Pass area’s severe weather season is usually highlighted with a few supercell thunderstorms, especially due to the fact that the atmospheric ingredients needed for severe weather are so evidently present during this time. It is well documented that low pressure to the west provides the instability, wind shear, and atmospheric lift needed for thunderstorm development with the help of the Serranias Del Burro mountains in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.
Furthermore, Menchaca states that this combines with the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico as winter transitions into springtime. The dry-line in west Texas, as well as late-season cold fronts from the north, can also be a great initiator of severe weather. These factors usually play into the long-live supercells that form and become squall lines which eventually impact cities such as San Antonio, Austin, and even the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That’s why it is always important to have a method to receive weather information whenever a severe weather is forecasted.
STWX Strategic is a meteorology consulting firm located in Del Rio, Texas, with specialties in emergency management weather planning, forensic meteorological investigations, and aviation weather, managed by Meteorologist Dan Schreiber. Likewise, Del Rio Weather Alerts is a Facebook page run by Meteorologist Alexander Menchaca, which has become a trusted go-to community page for severe weather updates in the Del Rio area.
With the month of September at a close, weather records for Del Rio, Texas with the year 2019 on top continue to add up. While September 2019's records are not as numerous as August 2019's, there are a couple worth noting, along with some honorable mentions. Records are taken from Del Rio Airport, since 1906. Here they are:
September 2019 in Del Rio set a record for the warmest monthly-average daily minimum temperature. This value comes by averaging the minimum temperature for each day of the month. This September, the average was 76.7°F. Second place for this record goes to 1911, a whole 1.6°F lower than 2019 at 75.1°F. The normal average monthly mean minimum temperature is 69.8°F. For this to occur, minimum temperatures much drop into the 60's at least a few times during the month, but in September 2019, no low temperature ever dropped into the 60's - which makes September 2019 one of only three total Septembers to never drop below 70 degrees - the other two being 1911 and 1933. Of note, 2019 and 1911 share the first place record for the warmest monthly-minimum temperature in the month of September, at 72°F, meaning that no temperature ever dropped below 72°F during the entire month.
September 2019 also claimed first place for the warmest monthly average temperature - which is computed by averaging the highs and lows of each day together. September 2019's average temperature was 87.6°F, with second place going again to 1911, which averaged 86.8°F. The normal average temperature for September is 80.3°F.
September 2019 did not claim first place for the warmest average daily maximum temperature, but came in close second place with an average daily high temperature of 98.4°F, which ties with 1911. First place remains to be held by September 1977, when the average high temperature was 0.2°F higher at 98.6°F. The normal daily high averages at 90.8°F.
Del Rio's September 2019 came in fourth place for the most 100°F-or-greater days, with 10 total. September of 1977 clocked 12 days, with 1912 and 2000 recording 11 days each. So far this year, Del Rio has accumulated 66 days of 100°F-or-greater temperatures, placing 2019 in sixth place overall, behind 1951 and 1998 with 69 total days, 2001 with 72 total days, 1953 with 78 total days, and 2011 with a whopping 85 total days of 100°F-or-greater.
September 2019 in Del Rio did manage to score 0.10 inches of rainfall at the Del Rio Airport, 0.09 inches of which fell on September 30th, hours prior to end of the month. This places September 2019 in seventh place overall for the driest September on record, beat by 1907, 1930, 1931, 1952, 1999, and 2005. The normal rainfall during September is 2.20 inches. However, September 2019 marked the first time since July 1st, 2019, in which measurable rainfall was recorded at the Del Rio Airport, making it the driest July-September on record. To date, 13.36 inches of rain has fallen in 2019 at the Del Rio Airport, with a normal accumulation of 15.71 inches year-to-date.
After a record-breaking August with respect to hot temperatures in Del Rio, it's no surprise that this summer has also claimed top distinction in the record books for heat. While records aren't specifically taken for seasons, since start and end dates of these seasons fluctuate slightly from year to year, it's unlikely that these fluctuations in the dates make significant impact on temperature records (perhaps more so on precipitation records).
Since weather records have been taken beginning in 1906, 2019's summer (June 21st - September 22nd) claimed first place in average daily maximum temperature, average daily minimum temperature, average daily temperature (the average of the maximum and minimum), the total number of 100°F-plus days, and scored in 6th place as the driest on record.
For Average Daily High Temperature: This summer averaged 100.3°F, coming in at first place, with the normal average high (since 1906) of 95°F.
For Average Daily Low Temperature: This summer average 76.9°F, coming in at first place, with the normal average low (since 1906) of 74°F.
The Average Daily Temperature: Combining the average highs and lows, 2019 comes in first place with approximately 88.6°F, with the normal average (since 1906) being 84.5°F.
This year also placed in first place for triple-digits, with 60 days of 100°F-plus high temperatures.
Although the recent drought does put this year as the driest on record from July 1st until the end of summer (with only 0.01 inches recorded at the Del Rio Airport), rainfall during the second half of June (which was technically during the summer season) contributed to a total rainfall accumulation of 1.21 inches during the entire summer, placing 2019 in sixth place overall for driest on record, with a normal average (since 1906) of approximately 6.03 inches.
Of note, 1.13 inches fell on June 21st, 2019 - which was the first full day of summer this year - and aside from this, only 0.08 inches of rain fell between June 22nd and September 22nd. If it wasn't for June 21st's rainfall, this summer would place in first for driest on record.
Very hot and very dry - the weather this summer in Del Rio. This past June placed as the second-wettest June ever recorded, but was followed by a very dry July, which tied a handful of other years as the driest on record. This August, however, decided to go the extra mile, claiming not only some top dry records, but numerous heat records as well.
All records are taken from the weather station at Del Rio International Airport. Records date back to 1905.
First, Del Rio only officially received trace precipitation (less than 0.01 inches) this August, as it did in July. While some parts of town did receive some additional rainfall, the Del Rio Airport records the official observation for climate data for the National Weather Service.
This August, Del Rio tied five other years for the fifth-driest August on record - those years being 1929, 1951, 1957, 1963, and 1985. Four other years were technically drier, receiving absolutely no precipitation - 1907, 1924, 1943, and 1952.
The July-August combination this year of only trace precipitation puts 2019 tied with only two other July-August combinations as the driest on record - 1951 & 1957. This dry combination of July and August has put Del Rio behind the curve for what is expected as far as annual precipitation accumulation - which should be at about 13 1/2 inches year-to-date. So far this year, Del Rio has accumulated 13.26 inches.
Del Rio was placed in "Moderate Drought" status in August.
This August was the hottest August on record in Del Rio by way of average daily maximum temperature, average daily mean temperature, and average daily minimum temperature. It also had more 100 degree days than any other August on record.
This August tied for first place on hottest recorded August temperature (109°F on Aug 26th), tying with Aug 17th, 1969. This is one of only 15 days ever recorded that the thermometer has reached 109°F in Del Rio.
This August also came in tied for first with July 1980 as far as total number of days with a temperature of at least 100 degrees (all 31 days). With the exception of July 1980, no other month has recorded 100 degrees on every day. Additionally, this August recorded more daily minimum temperatures at or above 80 degrees (a total of 13 days) than any other August on record, only falling short for the all-time title behind July of 1998, which had 20 days of low temperatures at or above 80 degrees.
This August had the highest monthly maximum temperature average ever recorded (103.9°F), beating July 1998's 103.1°F record, and two degrees higher than any other August on record. The average daily maximum for a normal August is about 97 degrees.
This August came in first place on record, tying with July 1998, with an average daily temperature of 91.6 degrees, which is the average between the highest and lowest daily temperatures. The normal average daily temperature in August is about 86 degrees.
This August came in second place ever recorded by average daily minimum temperature, with an average low temperature of 79.3 degrees. First place goes to July of 1998, with an average of 80.2 degrees. As mentioned previously, July of 1998 is the only other month on record with more days recording a low temperature of at or above 80 degrees than this August.
Along with being very dry, this year's July-August combination also recorded the highest high temperature average on record, at just under 102 degrees, the highest average temperature on record of 89.8 degrees, and in fourth place for the warmest low temperature average on record, with 77.7 degrees.
Del Rio has tied five other years for the driest July on record, utilizing records from Del Rio International Airport dating as far back as 1906. During this July, the rain gauge at the Del Rio airport received no measurable precipitation, only recording trace amounts (less than 1/100th of an inch) on July 11th. No measurable rainfall has fallen at the Del Rio airport since June 24th.
This amount ties the July amounts recorded in the years 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, and 1998. The normal rainfall amount for July in Del Rio is 1.78 inches.
However, the report of only trace precipitation can be deceiving, as there were several days - especially during the early-to-mid July - where thunderstorms were noted during the late afternoon and early evening hours within the Del Rio vicinity - some with briefly heavy rain. The rainfall total goes unreported officially, however, because it did not fall into, and was not reported from, an approved rain gauge. It is estimated, however, that monthly accumulations between 0.5 and 1 inch fell on the west side of Lake Amistad, as well as in isolated pockets along Sycamore Creek near Laughlin AFB.
Local citizens throughout the area report rainfall from approved rain gauges as part of the CoCoRaHS network. Here are a few of the reports for the month of July:
Alta Vista Area (Del Rio): Trace
Lake Ridge Ranch Area (Del Rio): No Accumulation
San Pedro Estates (Lake Amistad): 0.03 Inches
Langtry Area: 1.02 Inches
Carta Valley (Edwards County): 0.11 inches
Fort Clark (Kinney County): 0.09
It has been noted that El Niño summers, like this summer, tend to be more dry than average. Of the years listed previously in which this July tied for the driest on record, all but one year (1998) continued to record below-normal precipitation in August. 1998, however, introduced Tropical Storm Charley and the catastrophic flood of '98. Therefore, it is likely that drier than normal conditions will continue into August, although the late summer and early fall generally leads to increased rain potential.
The Del Rio airport has recorded a total of 13.26 inches this year, which is still above normal for a typical year up to this date.
On Tuesday, July 16th 2019, Smalltown Weather's meteorologist Dan Schreiber spoke in front of the Del Rio Rotary Club. Topics discussed included general meteorology understanding, basics of weather forecasting, severe weather readiness, and community involvement in the field of meteorology. Mr. Schreiber would like to thank the Del Rio Rotary Club for the opportunity to share his passion about weather science.
Only a day into the summer season, and a late-evening thunderstorm swept across the Del Rio area bringing over an inch of rainfall in less than an hour, as well as wind gusts of 70 mph at Laughlin AFB and 64 mph at Del Rio International Airport. The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for this storm at 9:18 PM.
Reports of "Green Lightning" were also noted, which is common when hail is present in a storm. While radar indicated some hail presence, only a few reports of small hail were reported via the Del Rio Weather Alerts Facebook Page across the area.
The total precipitation so far for June 2019 in Del Rio (7.78 inches) puts this June as the second-wettest June on record (since 1906), falling behind 1935 when 13.71 inches was recorded.
Severe thunderstorms containing powerful wind gusts are not uncommon during the summer months as high afternoon temperatures prior to a storm help create a lower atmosphere conducive for strong wind plunging down from a thunderstorm's downdraft. This is known as a microburst. This particular storm also contained a distinct bowing shape, indicating powerful wind gust presence, and was well-supported by an upper-tropospheric disturbance aloft, adding to it's severe potential.
STWX Strategic is a forensic meteorology & severe weather emergency consulting agency located in Del Rio, Texas.
Smalltown Weather Meteorologist Dan Schreiber Partners With Del Rio Weather Alerts Alexander Menchaca At Library For Weather EducationRead Now
Photos by Atzimba Morales, Del Rio News Herald, Published June 21st, 2019
Smalltown Weather Meteorologist Dan Schreiber partnered with Del Rio Weather Alerts Meteorologist Alex Menchaca on Thursday, June 20th, at the Val Verde County Library to bring weather education to the Del Rio community. Approximately 20 members of the Del Rio community attended.
Mr. Schreiber discussed his occupation in Forensic Meteorology, while Mr. Menchaca discussed his weather alerting services via Facebook to the Del Rio area. Both meteorologists have been influential in warning local residents of looming severe weather for several years.
Mr. Schreiber, aided by Mr. Menchaca, then led a short class on the basics of meteorology, including explaining basic weather features, weather maps, types of weather alerts, and weather forecasting.
Mr. Schreiber holds a Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and has a background in the US Air Force. Mr. Menchaca holds his Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University and is also a Del Rio native, doubling as an Algebra 1 teacher at the San Felipe-Del Rio CISD Blended Academy and an assistant at the Del Rio Upper Air Observation Station (old National Weather Service office).
If you would like to invite Dan and Alex to speak at your event, please contact Dan via the Contact Form on this website. Alex may be contacted through his Facebook page at Del Rio Weather Alerts.
Rainfall Data as of 7:00 AM Tuesday
By the early morning hours of June 4th, 2019, Del Rio, Texas was already setting record rainfall amounts - with over five inches of rain between the early morning hours of Monday (June 3rd) and Tuesday (June 4th). The Del Rio International Airport precipitation gauge reported a total of 5.14 inches of rain during this period, already putting June 2019 within the top-ten wettest on record (since 1906 records began).
Some areas around the general vicinity have recorded even more rain - Laughlin AFB, for example, although suffering from frequent weather sensor outages, recorded 6.65 inches between 7:00 am Monday and 7:00 am Tuesday - almost entirely within a six hour period.
The majority of the rainfall has been nocturnal - with approximately half of an inch recorded in the Del Rio area early Monday morning, followed by some areas reporting between half and three-quarters of an inch on Monday evening, then persistent heavy rain topping off the rain gauges very early Tuesday morning.
Many areas of flooding were also reported, with numerous road closures across Del Rio and surrounding areas, although many vehicles were noted trapped in low water crossings, despite road barriers in place.
The recent rainfall is in response to a late-spring upper-level disturbance situated over the Desert Southwest. This system has caused an influx of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico (where a tropical disturbance is supplying additional moisture) into the Del Rio vicinity, leaving the air far more humid than typical. Saturated soil from recent rainfall in May has also limited soil absorption, leading to increased flooding concerns during heavy rain events.
STWX Strategic is a severe weather emergency and forensic meteorology agency located in Del Rio, Texas. If you are in need of assistance with your severe weather emergency action plan, or in need of a certified weather report for legal matters, Contact Us.
A late-season cold blast swept through the Southern Plains on the afternoon and evening of Thursday, May 9th, bringing widespread thunderstorms and rainfall across South-Central Texas. In the wake of this cold front, temperatures dropped through Thursday night into Friday morning, reaching a low temperature of 57 degrees at around 1:00 PM on Friday afternoon. Some late-day heating - while still under overcast skies - allowed temperatures to rebound slightly to a maximum temperature of 64 degrees around sunset at 8:00 PM.
This maximum temperature ties May 1st, 1916 and May 1st, 1994 for the third-coldest daily maximum temperature ever recorded in the month of May in Del Rio.
The coldest-ever daily maximum temperature in May occurred on May 3rd, 1918 at 60 degrees, with second place going to May 2nd, 1918 & May 4th, 1935 at 62 degrees.
High temperatures are expected in the 90's by the middle to end of next week.
For more information, contact Smalltown Weather at SmalltownWeather@gmail.com or (830) 313-6899