Summer has a way of wearing out its welcome in Texas.
Those sunny-with-highs-in-the-90s forecasts stayed through September. Despite a summer with kinder temperatures and ample rain, these days the trees are stressed, the grass is dormant and drought-tolerant plants look dog-tired of being so tolerant.
Relief is on its way, although residents have heard that refrain before.
David Bonnette, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said hope is on the horizon. Two fronts, a weak one coming Thursday and a stronger one Sunday night, are bringing rain chances and cooler temperatures.
“The good news is it will be cooler Monday, and Tuesday morning the lows will be in the upper 50s,” Bonnette said.
Neither front brings strong chances of a good, soaking rain, unless an isolated thunderstorm stalls for a bit overhead. Thursday’s front brings a 20% chance of rain, with less than quarter-inch accumulation expected for those areas that do get rain. Sunday night’s front will likely bring higher chances, but still only about a half-inch of accumulation.
September was both the region’s hottest and driest September on record, according to the National Weather Service. Officially, no rain was recorded at DFW International Airport. A total of 0.12 inches combined was recorded at Denton Enterprise Airport on Sept. 19-20 and Sept. 23, Bonnette said.
By contrast, September 2018 was the wettest ever on record, according to the weather service.
The region clocked a pair of 100-degree days, but the real record-breaking temperatures didn’t come in the margins. That came in the overall numbers. The mean monthly temperature was 85.5 degrees, which is above normal even for the month of July. The previous record for the monthly mean temperature was 83.7 degrees, which happened in 1939 and again in 2005.
Most of Denton County, unlike much of the rest of Texas, is still not considered to be in a drought even though the region is in its longest dry streak since 2015. In addition, this was the first September without any measurable rain at DFW, according to the weather service. About 27 inches so far this year has fallen and gave North Texas a leg up in advance of September’s sunny ways.
Still, the Denton County fire marshal recently ordered a countywide burn ban. The bans track the Keetch and Byram Drought Index, which follows plant and soil moisture and is used as part of assessing wildfire risk. Open burning is not allowed during the burn ban.