More heat = more water

Cover photo from

One year ago today, as we all remember, turned out to be one miserable, cold day with temperatures ranging from 1° in Huntsville to 13° in Houston to 20° in Galveston.

I’ve talked before about that kind of arctic blast being ‘generational’ or something we can expect every 30 years. For climate study, 30 years is a good benchmark to get an indication of how the climate is changing (or not changing, for that matter). Climate Central has just published a study comparing average precipitation from 1981-2010 and 1991-2020. Granted there is an overlap there, but interesting to note how much more precipitation (in green) is being recorded across our part of Texas to the north and northeast, while southwest and western areas are seeing less (in brown). Take a look at this map.

courtesy Climate Central

For Houston, our average precipitation over the past 30 years has increased for all seasons except fall:

courtesy Climate Central

So what does this really mean? Well, look at the 30-year spans from 1900 until now and you’ll see a distinct increase in those green colors.

courtesy Climate Central

This is where it becomes interesting -- a increase in average precipitation coincides with an increase in global temperatures. Warmer oceans and landmasses lead to more moisture evaporation which leads to, eventually, more of that moisture falling as rain and snow. This is all more than just a footnote -- these kind of changes go into decisions and policies made by city planners, construction and insurance companies, the agriculture and energy industries and others. You can read Climate Central’s full report and look at individual cities right here.

Some good news

Look at the latest drought monitor from last week compared to six months ago and you’ll notice the severe drought in the West and desert Southwest looks to be easing.

from the US Drought monitor

And here’s more good news: it’s not 13° today.


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.