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Wet weather a good sign for the Big Country

By Ariana Garza, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 09 2013 08:50:23 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

As areas across the Big Country experienced the first major rain event of 2013, local experts said the wet weather is good for rural and urban areas.

"Any type of rainfall moisture event is going to help us, it's going to be very beneficial to the plants and simulate some growth in the spring," Taylor County Extension Agent Robert Pritz said.

Pritz said the January rain will be especially beneficial to wheat farmers who have faced a dry winter and hope to harvest in June.

"This rain is really going to have an opportunity to simulate that wheat and allow that wheat to grow this spring," Pritz said.

And city dwellers will also benefit as their landscape plants recover from the winter.

"This rainfall event will allow those plants to keep those root systems hydrated and alive so that when we come to the spring a lot of our landscape conditions will be better as well," Pritz said.

He said it is difficult to predict how much rain the county needs to get out of the drought.

"We really need a season long rainy season to really say that we've broken a drought cycle," Pritz said. "If we get a good rainfall event right now, it's going to look like we're ahead of our normal for the year but actually if you take into effect last fall and spring, our growing seasons, we're still going to be at a deficit."

KTXS Chief Meteorologist Mark Rowlett said the county got barely more than an inch of rain in the last three months of 2012. He said it does not look like the county will get out of the drought in the beginning of 2013 either.

"For the winter and spring months, unfortunately, we're looking at the tendency to be below normal on rainfall and above normal on the temperature," Rowlett said.