A tropical storm in the Gulf will likely bring showers, cloudy skies and cooler temperatures to Central Texas throughout this week, according to the National Weather Service.
Meterologist Daniel Huckaby said there is a 50-percent chance of rain today and Tuesday, with cloud cover capping high temperatures in the upper 80s and maintaining lows around 71 degrees.
That rain chance decreases to 20 or 30 percent through the rest of the week but Huckby said those chances could hold into next week, bringing potentially heavy rainfall.
“This week looks wet, also as we head into next week. There could be some heavy rainfall in that,” he said. “Tropical systems tend to have a lot of heavy rain with them.”
The precipitation is much needed after a summer of triple-digit heat and little to no rain has left much of Bell County in a severe D2 level of drought.
Local reservoirs including Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which is 79.3 percent full, and Belton Lake, which is 85.5 percent full, have seen a steady decrease in water levels over the last few months as a result of the drought.
Several burn bans have also been in effect over the summer in Bell, Lampasas and Coryell counties, which were lifted only briefly following a storm in mid-August.
Huckaby said Killeen’s year-to-date rainfall total is about 6 inches shy of normal, with radar estimates forecasting that between 2 and 3 inches of precipitation fell in Killeen during August.
He said the approaching storm system will likely not bring enough rain to completely offset that 6 inch deficit, but that it could help ease the drought as well as provide a smooth transition into the fall season, keeping those triple digit temperatures away.
“We have already taken a bite out of the oppressive ridge that brings us heat over the summer,” Huckaby said. “If we can keep that at bay over the next week, we may have a nice transition into fall rather than having that heat come back.”
More rainfall in Bell County is likely to continue into September and beyond, according to the NWS.
“As we get more into the fall season, we tend to get cold fronts into Central Texas. It’s looking more promising for rainfall this month and then more so as we head into October and even later into the year,” Huckaby said. “October is one of the wettest months of year.”
Although area residents can look forward to relief from the summer scorch, Huckaby said the drought conditions will be harder to oust.
“It may take awhile to significantly ease the drought because we have been accumulating deficits all year, but it's looking like conditions will get better rather than worse,” he said.