In 2011, governor Rick Perry signed a proclamation asking Texans to pray for rain. Four years later, it finally came.
At the time, nearly 70 percent of Texas was in extreme drought, the second-most intense category. Six months later in October 2011, the dry spell peaked, and over 70 percent of the state was in the worst drought category of exceptional.
Though the drought has fluctuated in strength and location since then, on the whole the second-largest state in the nation, with an economy that leans heavily on its agriculture industry, has remained in persistent dryness.
But this month, the skies parted and the rain poured down causing disastrous flooding from Nebraska to Texas.
Nearly 8 inches of rain fell in Oklahoma City on May 6, making it the wettest May day on record for the location, and prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood emergency. There was so much water pouring from the sky that day that tornado shelters began to float up out of the ground. Lubbock, Tex., has seen its third wettest May on record so far, and its 16th wettest month overall.
The silver lining to this torrential rain cloud, of course, is that as of Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor says that no portion of Texas — or Oklahoma, for that matter — is in an extreme drought anymore. Victor Murphy, the climate program manager at the National Weather Service Southern Region, said that the extreme Texas drought is “all but over.”
The month is not over, though, and there’s more rain on the way. On Friday, The National Weather Service was forecasting up to 5 inches of rain for northern Texas and southern Oklahoma, which is the same region that has already seen over 15 inches so far in May alone. Around Houston, the center is forecasting close to 5 inches, which could push the city into the top 10 wettest May’s on record. Houston Hobby Airport has recorded 6.17 inches of rain this month.