Weather across West Central Texas can change suddenly and dramatically. It can be characterized by flash floods, wildfires, hail storms, drought, winter storms and tornadoes. Here are the five most significant weather events for 2009 that impacted West Central Texas.
1) The Christmas Eve Snowstorm - December 24
The Christmas Eve snowstorm dropped 4 to 6 inches of snow across much of the Big Country. Winds of 40 to 50 mph caused blizzard conditions across the eastern Big Country with blowing snow producing 2 to 3 foot snowdrifts and reducing visibilities to near zero. Interstate 20 was closed between Abilene and Weatherford forcing many holiday travelers into emergency shelters for Christmas Eve. One person was killed in an accident on an icy road south of Sweetwater Christmas Day.
2) The Winter Drought - Winter of 2009
A drought gripped West Central Texas last winter and resulted in significant impacts to livestock, a failed winter wheat crop, an active wildfire season, and rainfall deficiencies.
3) Brown County Severe Thunderstorm - May 8
A severe thunderstorm with winds of 80 to 85 mph produced widespread wind damage across Lake Brownwood, Brownwood, and Early.
4) Roby Hail Storm - June 2
The combination of strong winds and large hail ranging from golf ball to grapefruit size damaged approximately 100 homes. The storm also damaged many vehicles in the town of Roby.
5) Rule Tornado (EF2) - June 13
The EF2 tornado tore the roofs off of 4 homes, destroyed several outbuildings, irrigation systems and powerlines just a few miles northwest of Rule.
We sympathize with the many who experienced property damage in West Central Texas during 2009. We also want to remind everyone to always be prepared for severe weather.
Here are a few safety tips to keep you safe in 2010.
1) Know the name of your county and the counties around you so that you know where storms are in relation to your location and which watches and warnings are in effect for your location.
2) Have a means to receive and check forecasts, watches and warnings such as your local radio and TV stations, cable, internet provider, cell phone, and/or NOAA Weather Radio 24 hours a day.
3) Take appropriate action when a watch or warning is issued for your county.
For more information, go to www.srh.noaa.gov/sjt