National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

October was warmer than normal, and wetter than normal for much of west-central Texas.  

Figure 1 shows the geographic regions across West Central Texas, which are referenced in this event summary.

Figure 1:  Geographic Regions of West-Central Texas.

Precipitation for October varied from below to much above normal.  Total rainfall for the month is shown in Figure 2.   

Figure 2: Total Precipitation for October, 2015.

For much of the Big Country and for the area southeast of a Brownwood to Christoval to Ozona line, October rainfall totals were in the range of 4-8 inches.  These monthly amounts were well-above normal.  A few pockets within these areas received over 8 inches of rainfall.  October rainfall was below normal across some of the area from western Crockett County across much of Irion into Tom Green, Coke and Runnels Counties.  The monthly rainfall was also below normal at a few locations across the northwestern Big Country.       

Three rain events during the month helped to alleviate the drought conditions which had enveloped west-central Texas.

Temperatures averaged above normal for the month, most notably with the daily highs.  Table 1 (below) summarizes October 2015 temperature, precipitation, and departure from normal for Abilene and San Angelo.         



Average Temperature(Degrees F)

Departure from Normal(Degrees F) Normal Average Temperature(Degrees F) Total Precipitation(Inches) Departure from Normal(Inches) Normal October Precipitation(Inches)
Abilene  69.1 3.3 65.8 8.17 5.19 2.98
San Angelo  70.4 4.2 66.2 2.44 -0.29 2.73


Table 1: October Climate Data for Abilene and San Angelo.

* For Abilene, this was the 4th wettest October on record. *  This was the 11th warmest October on Record at San Angelo.

Warm and dry conditions occurred during the first week of October, with the dominant influence from an upper level high pressure system over Texas. A wildfire early in the month burned approximately 2,250 acres in extreme western Schleicher County (just north of Highway 190).

A much needed rain event occurred on the 8th and 9th.  Showers and thunderstorms initially developed over southwestern sections of west-central Texas on the 8th, as an upper level storm system tracked from southeastern Arizona into northern Mexico. The coverage of showers and storms increased during the overnight hours of the 8th and 9th, across the Concho Valley, Northern Edwards Plateau and Northwest Hill Country. Figure 3 (below) shows rainfall totals for October 8-9.

Figure 3: West-Central Texas Rainfall for the 7-day period ending at 7 AM, October 10.

The heavier rainfall (1 to 3 inches) occurred across some of the area west of a Robert Lee to Junction line. 

Warm and dry conditions resumed on the 10th and continued through the 15th, as an upper level high pressure system redeveloped and remained over Texas and parts of the southwestern states.  Daily high temperatures were well-above normal and in the 90s across much of the area October 11-15.  Gusty north-northeast winds followed passage of a weak front on the 12th. A peak gust of 40 mph was recorded at the Abilene Regional Airport.  Record high temperatures were tied at San Angelo (95 degrees) and Abilene (94 degrees) on the 14th.   

A few wildfires occurred during the middle of the month.  One of the wildfires burned approximately 860 acres in far western Menard Count (near Farm to Market Road 1674).  A wildfire occurred in Brown County, approximately 5 miles southwest of Brownwood.  This fire burned an estimated 750 acres, and its proximity necessitated the temporary closure of Farm to Market Road 1176.  Several homes were evacuated as a precautionary measure.  In southern Crockett County, a wildfire 25 miles south-southwest of Ozona burned approximately 350 acres.   

A dry cold frontal passage on the 16th was followed by cooler temperatures, with highs in the 80s on the 17th and 18th.

Low-level moisture returned to the area on the 21st, well out ahead of an upper level storm system over the southwestern states.  The airmass over west-central Texas became unstable and unusually moist for this time of year.  In Mcculloch County, an isolated severe thunderstorm produced nickel size hail and caused wind damage 2 miles east-northeast of Sweden.  

A significant rain event occurred on October 22-24, not only in west-central Texas but across most of the state.  This was brought about by a couple of upper level storm systems and the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.  As the first storm system tracked from the  southwestern states into Colorado, showers and thunderstorms with very heavy rain overspread most of western Texas during the post-Midnight hours of the 22nd.  Additional development occurred with very heavy rain across the Big Country on the 22nd.  This resulted in flash flooding of streets in Sweetwater, and led to the closure of Farm to Market Road 1226 east of Hawley (Jones County).  This also led to significant rises on the North Concho River, from Sterling City to San Angelo, with minor flooding near Carlsbad.  Some of this water drained into OC Fisher Lake on the northwest side of San Angelo,  where the lake level increased by 6.7 percent.

On the afternoon of the 23rd, isolated severe thunderstorms in the Big Country produced golfball size hail at Maryneal.  Abilene recorded a new daily record rainfall of 2.16 inches on the 23rd.  As the second storm system began to approach from the southwestern states, showers and thunderstorms developed and became widespread over much of the southern half of west-central Texas, during the overnight hours of the 23rd and 24th.  

Figure 4 captures the rainfall for this event (October 22-24).    

Figure 4: West-Central Texas Rainfall for the 7-day period ending at 7 AM, October 25.

Rainfall amounts of 2-5 inches occurred across much of the Big Country area along and north of Interstate 20, and across much of the area southeast of a Brownwood to Christoval to Junction line.  Parts of the western Big Country and northwestern Concho Valley received amounts between 6 and 9 inches, with localized amounts over 9 inches in western Sterling County.   

Hurricane Patricia (Category 5 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) made landfall on the west coast of Mexico on the 23rd and subsequently weakened over Mexico.  Its remannts tracked across southern and southeastern Texas on the 24th, bringing very heavy rainfall and flooding to that part of the state.  

A strong cold frontal passage on the 24th was followed by gusty north winds and falling temperatures.  Some rain and showers continued across much of west-central Texas.  

A cool high pressure system moved into the area on the 25th and 26th.  With clear skies, diminishing winds and drier air in place, temperatures dipped into the 30s and 40s for early morning lows on the 26th and 27th.

Another significant rain event occurred at the end of the month.  Moisture returned to the area on the 29th, with south to southeast winds. With the approach of an upper level storm system from the southwestern states and adjacent northern Mexico, showers and thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rain occurred on the 30th.  A new daily rainfall record (2.62 inches) was set at Abilene on the 30th.  Additional showers and storms with moderate to heavy rain occurred during the post-Midnight hours of the 31st, especially across southern and eastern parts of west-central Texas.  Figure 5 shows rainfall totals for October 30-31. 

Figure 5: West-Central Texas Rainfall for the 7-day period ending at 7 AM, October 31.

Rainfall amounts were in the range of 1-3 inches across much of the area east of a Haskell to Abilene to San Angelo line, with scattered pockets of 3-4 inches within this area.  Rainfall of 1-2 inches occurred across parts of the Northern Edwards Plateau (including Eldorado and Sonora).

A few severe thunderstorms also occurred on the 30th.  Within 10 miles of Sterling City, a 61 mph wind gust was recorded, and several large tree limbs were blown down.  In Callahan County, a 60 mph wind gust was reported 2 miles north of Cross Plains.