Forecasters were right on target -- the collision of tropical moisture and an approaching cold front brought Central Texas its heaviest rain event in a long time.
"This is very beneficial rain at a very good time,” Clara Tuma, of the Lower Colorado River Authority said. “This was exactly the kind of rain that we needed."
The Highland Lakes were only about 20 days away from reaching the lowest levels in more than 50 years. Underground water supplies were also quickly dwindling.
But, 3 to 5 inches of rain fell across wide swaths of the Highland Lakes watershed. It will take a few days before we know how much this rain helps.
"A lot of rain coming down and not a lot of movement in the streams and tributaries right away, which tells us the rain was soaking in," Tuma said.
Rain that soaks into the ground doesn't make it to the lakes. That's exactly what the Lower Colorado River Authority's stream-flow gauge shows. With time, river managers expect at least some of the water to trickle into the lakes.
"Once those inflows pick up, then we do expect the lakes will rise some more," Tuma said.
It's likely enough rain to keep this from being the worst drought ever, but it's probably not over.
"Days like today when it's raining, we think we're done, the drought is over,” said Carlos Rubenstein of the Texas Water Development Board. “It could be, we don't know. It's going to have to rain quite a bit before our reservoirs recover."
While one rain event is welcome, it will take weeks of rain like this to end the Texas drought.
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