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7 Things You Should Know About May's Record Rainfall In North Texas

BJ Austin
May 2015 was the wettest May ever for Dallas-Fort Worth. Here's a look at the rain-choked Trinity River in Dallas last week.

In May in Dallas-Fort Worth and across Texas, it rained and it rained. And then it rained some more. 

The rainfall set records, but the flooding was deadly and destructive. 

Here are seven things you should know about the May rain and floods:

1. This was the wettest May ever for Dallas-Fort Worth, the National Weather Service says. Dallas-Fort Worth recorded 16.96 inches of rain in May -- smashing the May 1982 record of 13.66 inches. Some parts of North Texas saw more than 25 inches of rain – particularly areas near the Texas-Oklahoma border. The heaviest rainfall was northeast of Gainesville, where nearly 29 inches of rain fell, the National Weather Service says. Parts of Fort Worth recorded about 15 inches, while Denton recorded nearly 12 inches.

It was the second-wettest spring in North Texas – we saw 25.05 inches of rain in March, April and May. Only the spring of 1957 was wetter (29.01 inches). It’s also the second-wettest year in North Texas so far – we’ve recorded 31.63 inches from Jan. 1-May 31. No. 1 goes to 1957, when 32.50 inches fell during the first five months of the year.


Credit National Weather Service
It was a very rainy May, the National Weather Service says.


2.      May 2015 was the wettest May in state history, too. There was enough rain in Texas in May to cover the entire state with nearly 8 inches of water. That’s according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologists say that’s over 35 trillion gallons. All of this rain could lead to more mosquitoes -- and more reports of West Nile virus.

3.      Say adios to the drought in Texas. For the first time since mid-2012, Texas is no longer in an “exceptional drought,” the worst of five drought categories, the U.S. Drought Monitor says. Parts of North Texas have been dry since 2011. Last Thursday, the Drought Monitor showed “abnormally dry” conditions in 18 percent of the state, mainly in several counties in the state’s midsection – between Lubbock and Fort Worth. And a few counties are classified as having “moderate drought.” More than 80 percent of the state is no longer in a drought – that’s a considerable improvement from May 2014, when just about 10 percent wasn't in a drought. Here’s a closer look at the end of the drought in Texas.

Credit U.S. Drought Monitor
Here's a look at drought conditions in Texas as of May 26. The yellow shows "abnormally dry" conditions, while the tan shows "moderate drought." The state is no longer classified as having severe, extreme or exceptional drought.

4.      About 10 people remain missing from the Texas floods. At least 31 people were killed in Texas and Oklahoma in May from the storms. In Houston, bodies were found floating in bayous. Other people died while driving and trying to get to work – they got stuck in the water and drowned. In North Texas, a man's body was recovered from standing water Friday. In Mesquite, a man drowned in his truck after it was swept into a culvert. The Austin American-Statesman offers a list of those who died or missing in the Central Texas floods.



5.      The storms have caused at least $27 million in damage to infrastructure across the state. That’s according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Roadways in 167 of Texas’ 254 counties have seen some storm damage. On Sunday, more than 155 roads were underwater or closed due to damage. Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 70 counties. Among the North Texas counties: Collin, Denton, Ellis and Kaufman. President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Texas, which makes federal funding available to people affected by storms in Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties.

6.      In Dallas, the Trinity River has become a photo op thanks to the flooding. One said it used to be “just grass and weeds.” Now scores of people have been flocking to the river to snap pictures.

7.        Videographers launched their drones to shoot dramatic scenes of the flooding.

The forecast calls for sun – and more sun. In North Texas, the sun will be out all week long. We’ll see highs in the low to mid 80s all week. We could reach the low 90s Friday and Saturday.

This report includes material from KERA’s Courtney Collins and The Associated Press.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.