SAN ANGELO, Texas — The National Weather Service for Abilene / San Angelo has released its top five weather events of 2022 in west Texas.
Record Heat May-August
2022 has been a hot year even for west Texas with record heat most prominent from May into early August. West Texans faced several days of 100-degree weather, sometimes back-to-back. In San Angelo, a new record was set for the highest number of consecutive days with highs of at least 100 degrees (37 days, from July 4th through August 9th). The previous record had been 28 days in 2011.
July brought with it the hottest temperatures of the year and was the warmest month on record in both San Angelo and Abilene.
2022 began with drought conditions and according to the January 4th U.S. Drought Monitor for Texas, much of west-central Texas was in moderate-to-severe drought, and a portion of the Big
Country was experiencing extreme drought.
February 2022 did not aid in drought conditions despite the wetter weather and conditions worsened between March and May. Abilene recorded its 9th driest May on record.
By the time August rolled in, Texas was experiencing the peak of drought conditions which were extreme to exceptional across most of west-central Texas
The effect of the drought caused loss of pasture and grazing for cattle, sale of cattle, and failure or significantly reduced yields of the winter wheat and cotton crops, as well as decreased water levels on area reservoirs.
Because of the severe drought conditions already in place, wildfires were rampant in the state of Texas. January saw a few brush fires in Fisher, Shackelford, and Callahan Counties. A few months later, in March, dry air masses combined with dry vegetation and stronger winds began a fresh wave of wildfires, such as:
- Chico Lane Fire in Reagan County
- Edmunson Fire in Sterling County
- Crews Fire along the border of Runnels and Coleman Counties
- Ramsey Fire in Brown County
In April and May, temperatures were scorching and precipitation was well below normal causing more wildfires. One of these was the Mesquite Heat fire in Taylor County, west of Buffalo Gap and southwest of Abilene. It was one of the largest fires, spanning 10,960 acres and burning 20 homes and 7 other buildings.
In July Texas saw the Ranger Creek wildfire near the Haskell and Throckmorton county border just south of U.S. Highway 380, burning 3,237 acres.
Severe Weather Event May 24
On May 24, 2022, a cold front moved in interacting with a strong upper-level disturbance and dryline, causing two areas of thunderstorms across west-central Texas. Large hail accompanied these storms, reaching the size of a baseball, and damaging winds. The NWS received 31 severe weather reports for this event. The heavy rainfall caused localized flooding in Brown County and Tom Green County.
Winter Weather Event February 2-3
On February 2, 2022, temperatures dropped rapidly throughout the day and by evening were at or below freezing. Overnight temperatures were in the upper teens to the lower 20s by 6 a.m. on
February 3, 2022. With the sudden drop in temperatures came freezing rain which mixed with sleet, and transitioned to a sleet-and-snow mix.
Wind Chill values were freezing (mostly between 5 degrees and 7 degrees below zero) during the overnight hours of February 3rd and 4th. The cold air lingered through February 5th.
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