Weather across West Central Texas can change dramatically and lead to the development of flash floods, drought, winter storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and even wildfires. Here are the 5 most significant weather related events for 2008 which impacted West Central Texas.
Location/Storm Event: Wildfire on February 25, no fatalities; Northwest Hill Country moderate drought all year, no fatalities; Concho Valley and Brown County tornadoes April 9-10, no fatalities; Anson wind storm on April 23, no fatalities; Eden and Brady hail storms and tornadoes May 13-14, no fatalities.
After the dry winter of 2007, wildfires broke out across West Central Texas in January and February as strong dry northwest winds fanned the flames. One of the largest wildfires of the year occurred on February 25th in Sterling and Irion counties. The wildfire burned over 200,000 acres. That evening another wildfire developed and threatened a number of residences in Robert Lee. While much needed rainfall returned to West Central Texas during the spring, a moderate drought persisted throughout 2008 from Brady to Menard to Sonora and southeast across the Northwest Hill Country.
During the late evening of April 9th through shortly after midnight of the 10th, straight line winds and several tornadoes damaged buildings in Brown, Irion and Tom Green counties, including the cities of San Angelo and Brownwood. Then on April 23rd, a powerful severe thunderstorm produced damaging winds and several tornadoes in the Big Country, with extensive wind damage in Anson. Large hail, measuring approximately 3.5 inches in diameter, fell in Eden and Potosi on May 14. The large hail produced extensive damage in Eden. Large hail fell in Brady both May 13th and May 14th. The hail storms knocked out windows, destroyed wheat crops, and damaged roofs and vehicles.
Twenty one tornadoes were observed across West Central Texas during the spring by our network of storm chasers, law enforcement officials, volunteer and paid firemen, and the general public who are also trained as SKYWARN storm spotters. The summer of 2008 will not easily be forgotten as the mercury hit 100 degrees 12 times at Abilene and 34 times at San Angelo. We are extremely grateful that no lives were lost. We can empathize with those who experienced property damage in West Central Texas.
Here are a few safety tips: 1) Have a means to receive forecasts, watches and warnings 24 hours a day from your favorite local radio or TV Station, cable TV provider, internet provider, cell phone company, or NOAA Weather Radio; 2) Know the name of your county and those counties around you, so that when warnings are issued you know where you are in relation to the storms; 3) Take appropriate action when a watch or warning is issued. For more information go to www.srh.noaa.gov/sjt.