After weeks of triple digit heat and dry conditions, Killeen residents can anticipate cooler weather and possible precipitation by the middle of this week, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
“We are going to start the week still pretty warm, with highs in the upper 90s,” said Matt Stalley, meteorologist with NWS. “There’s not any chance of rain through Tuesday outside of just a stray shower, but by Wednesday and Thursday, we will start noticing some changes.”
Stalley said a weak front will be moving into the area and bringing with it highs between 90 and 94 degrees as well as low temperatures in the mid-70s.
“Rain chances will be on the increase from late Wednesday into next weekend,” he said.
There will be a 50 to 60 percent chance of thunderstorms by Thursday night and Friday, with potentially up to an inch of rainfall in some areas, Stalley said.
The precipitation may provide some relief from arid, scorching conditions that have gripped much of the Central Texas corridor in severe drought, sparking wildfires and mandating excessive heat warnings.
Bell County is currently split between a D1 (moderate) to D2 (severe) level of drought intensity, while Coryell County is at a D2 (severe) level, according to the United States Drought Monitor at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.
“The drought is beginning to affect the lake levels recently,” Stalley said. “It’s not a dire situation just yet, but it’s something to keep an eye on.”
As of noon Sunday, Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Lake, the primary sources of water for the Killeen area, were at 589.5 feet and 614.57 feet, respectively. These elevations have been steadily decreasing in recent weeks.
“The lakes have been decreasing as far as the levels,” Stalley said. “They’re still in OK shape but starting to fall a couple of feet below the conservation pool.”
The drought has also prompted many cities to enact initial stages of contingency plans, with cities in the area actively at a stage 1, keeping consistent with the Brazos River Authority recommendation for this area.
The weather conditions are not expected to be severe, according to the NWS, but any amount of moisture would be beneficial at this point due to the dryness Stalley said.
“I think, if we can get some rain, that would help some,” he said.