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
A small, single engine aircraft crashed into the side of a hill shortly after takeoff on the night of January 28th, 2019, in Oceanside, California. One member of the crew was killed, while the other survived with injuries. No flight plan had been submitted for the flight and Oceanside Airport does not have an air traffic control tower.
A witness told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that he saw the plane take off at around 8:52 PM, and heard a crashing sound shortly after, when he called the police. Due to thick fog, no wreckage was found until after 7 AM the next day.
It's quite obvious that the thick fog likely played a role in the accident - the automated airport weather observation showed only 1/4 mile of visibility and a cloud ceiling at the surface, with vertical visibility of 200 feet. It was also dark at the time of the incident, which would have likely reduced actual visibility further.
The aircraft crashed just below the ridge line (at about 200 feet) just west of the airfield.
The minimum allowable takeoff ceiling and visibility at Oceanside Airport is a ceiling of 300 feet and a visibility of 1 mile, which is far better conditions than what was observed at the time the aircraft was reported to have departed. Despite one of the pilots having certifications to fly in instrument conditions (low ceiling and visibility), these mandatory minimums for Oceanside Airport are published by the FAA and must be adhered to by all aviators.
STWX Strategic is a forensic meteorology agency with expertise in aviation meteorology. For more information, visit our About page.
Contracted Military Transport Aircraft Skids Off Runway While Landing In A Thunderstorm In JacksonvilleRead Now
A second aviation incident within a week for the U.S. Military that likely involves flying in and near thunderstorms has made the headlines. Late Friday night, May 3rd, 2019, a military transport Boeing 737 skidded off the end of the runway and into the St. Johns River at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida while landing during a thunderstorm. No fatalities were reported of the 143 occupants, of the Miami Air International contracted flight, although 21 people were reportedly transported to the hospital.
A weather report taken from the Naval Air Station within 2 minutes of the reported incident showed a thunderstorm with heavy rain overhead, and frequent lightning. Surface winds were gusting to 18 mph, and the visibility at the surface was reported at 3 miles. About half an inch of rain had fallen in the 20 minutes prior to the incident, likely leading to some puddled or standing water on the runway.
Of particularly interesting note, according to the flight radar tracker, the plane landed approaching from the west, facing east, while the wind direction in the weather report about 20 minutes prior to the landing showed a light northerly crosswind, and, more importantly, the weather report within 2 minutes following the incident showed wind gusts of 18 mph from the west-northwest, which would have functioned as a tailwind, adding roughly 17 miles per hour to the landing speed of the aircraft - hence requiring a longer distance to completely stop, especially in wet runway conditions.
Combined with turbulent conditions likely just off the surface associated with the thunderstorm overhead, it is possible that the airplane may have been difficult to handle, as mentioned by a witness on-board.
Thunderstorms often contain powerful undrafts and downdrafts - sometimes on the order of several thousand feet per minute, as well as dangerous wind shear. While the thunderstorm involved in this incident did not have any "severe" weather indication, frequent lightning and heavy downpours were reported during the time of the crash.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association's Aviation Weather Center published a Convective Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) which was valid for the area warning aviators of these thunderstorms.
According to archived radio transmissions from LiveATC.net, the Jacksonville Approach Air Traffic Control warned of heavy precipitation at the destination airport several minutes before the landing was attempted, offering clearance to the runway facing the west (into the wind). The pilot then replied that he would check the weather as he flew closer to the airport. A few minutes later, the air traffic controller advised the east-facing runway, which ultimately landed the aircraft in the river.
STWX Strategic is a forensic meteorology agency with expertise in aviation meteorology. For more information, visit our About page.
Del Rio Dodges Tornado, Two Baseball-Sized Hail Storms In One Night; Picks Up Almost Two Inches of RainRead Now
A strong atmospheric disturbance over the Southern Plains left its mark on the Del Rio, Texas area on Thursday Evening and Friday Early Morning, May 2nd-3rd 2019. This prompted numerous weather watches and warnings from the National Weather Service, including two tornado warnings in Val Verde County.
The National Weather Service originally issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for baseball-sized hail and damaging wind gusts just before noon on Thursday. By 2 PM, an unofficial report of a funnel cloud had been reported along the Val Verde/Sutton County line, with a tornado warning issued for Sutton County.
Significant storms failed to develop in the Del Rio area until after sunset, as shown in the satellite loop below.
One particularly severe thunderstorm after sunset triggered tornado warnings north and northeast of Comstock, Texas, with a storm chaser (Daniel Shaw) reporting a tornado nine miles northeast of Comstock.
The radar imagery for this storm is shown below, also indicating hail sizes up to baseball-sized. Another storm report was broadcasted from the Rough Canyon area of Lake Amistad with estimated 2-inch diameter hail.
As this storm - at times likely producing baseball-sized hail - neared the Lake Amistad area, it was promptly flanked by smaller, developing storms to the west.
These weaker storms cut off some of the dynamic support needed to sustain severe weather and deflected the larger storm just to the north of Del Rio, and weakened its hail core. As a result, only reports of pea-sized hail were reported on the north and east sides of Del Rio. Flash Flooding was also reported in some areas of town, although only 0.54 inches of rain was recorded at Del Rio International Airport during this storm.
This storm, combining with other local storms, moved as a complex together to the southeast as the night progressed. Flood advisories were issued for Val Verde, Kinney, and Maverick Counties.
A second potentially severe storm came at approximately 1:30 AM, weakening as it crossed the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila. Of note, this storm originated near Langtry on the Texas side of the border, but then moved southeastward and migrated back into Mexico before crossing again in Del Rio.
Just before crossing, an unofficial report was published indicating the presence of a funnel cloud. This was not confirmed. However, during both crossings of the Rio Grande - at Langtry and at Del Rio - Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued by the National Weather Service. This storm dropped an additional 1.24 inches of rain within one hour in Del Rio, as recorded at Del Rio International Airport - equaling a total of 1.78 inches for the night.
STWX Strategic is a forensic meteorology agency. Storm reports are important as they allow meteorologists to verify their weather forecasts and improve their skills. They are also important as they often assist in insurance claims from damage resulting from foul weather. If you are in need of a formal, certified weather report, please be sure to Contact Us.
According to the Sheppard AFB public affairs office in Wichita Falls, Texas, a T-6 trainer jet crashed shortly before 2 PM on Wednesday, May 1st, near Lake Waurika, Oklahoma. The office reports that it appears as though both pilots ejected.
While Sheppard AFB has not named a cause of the incident, one look at the weather radar gives a clear sign: Severe Weather. A tornado was reported within the vicinity at 2:08 PM, as well as reports of baseball-sized hail within the hour.
A T-6 trainer aircraft from Sheppard AFB, Texas crashed near Lake Waurika, Oklahoma on May 1st, 2019, shortly before 2 PM. This 4-panel radar image shows the approximate location (Lake Waurika is centered on the four panels). Severe weather was ongoing during the incident time in the local vicinity - including multiple tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service (purple boxes).
While it is unclear exactly what caused the aircraft to crash, severe weather is certainly in the question. This particular thunderstorm complex contained storm tops above 50,000 feet - almost twice as high as the service ceiling of a T-6 aircraft.
Additionally, thunderstorms are packed with aviation weather hazards - enough so that the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center warns aviators of them in advisories known as "SIGMETs", or SIGnificant METeorological information, and pilots tend to navigate around these areas.
In this case, strong updrafts and downdrafts (likely on the order of several thousand feet per minute) were likely around these storms, causing extreme turbulence. and damaging wind gusts - enough to take down even large airliners. Large hail (up to 2.5 inches in diameter) was also reported, as well as a tornado within close proximity, according to data procured from the National Weather Service. Heavy rain combined with this hail would have most likely reduced flight visibility to instrument conditions - or less than one mile.
The US Air Force also retains it's own aviation meteorologists, although they are not explicitly bound to Aviation Weather Center & National Weather Service forecasts - leading to often very confusing, inconsistent forecasts for military aviators.
This is a developing story.
STWX Strategic is a forensic meteorology and expert witness agency with expertise in aviation meteorology. For more information, visit our About page.
STWX Strategic (Smalltown Weather, LLC) is an independent meteorology service based in Del Rio, Texas. Contact: (830) 313-6899