Snow in southern Lubbock - 23 Februrary 2010
2010:
WEATHER OF WEST TEXAS
Flooding at Huneke Park in Lubbock - 4 July 2010
Snow in southern Lubbock -
23 February 2010
Flooding at Huneke Park in Lubbock - 
4 July 2010


Like most years, 2010 brought a wide variety of weather to the South Plains region. Much of January was dry, but that quickly changed on the 28th when a strong and wet winter storm brought a wide variety of precipitation to the region.  The rain and snow then just kept coming every week or two through mid-March, making for a wet start to the year.  Then, after nearly a month of relatively dry weather, a slow moving storm system pumped abundant amounts of rain across the region in mid-April.

Late April, May and parts of June brought several outbreaks of severe weather, including a storm on the 22nd of April that became tornadic and produced significant damage near Cee Vee in Cottle County. Storms on the 25th of May brought up to softball sized hail near Progress, with a couple of brief tornadoes close to Dimmitt.  An early morning thunderstorm complex produced a strong macroburst, with a 101 mph wind gust measured near Turkey on the 14th of June, which resulted in damage to several rural structures.

June was a hot one, but the heat was quickly thwarted in early July as very heavy rain washed out the 4th of July weekend. Many locations recorded in excess of 5 inches of rain, with over 9 inches across parts of the central and southern South Plains. An astounding 14.20 inches of rain was measured at Draw, in southeast Lynn County, over the first 4 days of July. The heavy rain resulted in flooding, flash flooding and river flooding with millions of dollars in damage done.

After all the heavy rain in the first part of July, and the abundant precipitation during the first half of the year, rainfall became scarcer to close out the year.  Isolated to scattered storms did visit much of the area through the middle of August and on into September, but the rainfall was not as widespread or as intense as earlier in the year. One final round of fairly widespread heavy rain and severe weather struck on October 21st. Locations from Brownfield to Meadow were hardest hit with over 4 inches of rain and golf ball sized hail. Much of the remainder of the year was relatively quiet, though a strong storm system did bring a brief shot of rain and even a little snow to the southwest Texas Panhandle on November 12th. The end of the 2010 was characterized by strong winds, though little precipitation, as a large and potent storm system tracked by.

  

This map displays the 2010 year precipitation totals. The map was created with data gathered from the NWS Cooperative observers and the West Texas Mesonet. Click on the map to view a full-sized version.

This map displays the 2010 year precipitation totals. The map was created with data gathered from the NWS Cooperative observers and the West Texas Mesonet. Click on the map to view a full-sized version.

The above map shows that 15-20 inches of total rainfall was rather common for the year across western sections of the South Plains and southwest Texas Panhandle, which was close to or just below average. A tight rainfall gradient then exists further east, with much of the central and eastern sections getting 25-30+ inches, except around Memphis where only around 20 inches fell. The highest yearly total in the area was 36.77 inches, recorded in Post.  As the below map illustrates, aside from the western sections and near Memphis, most of the area saw 120 to more than 150 percent of normal precipitation for 2010.   

This map shows the 2010 rainfall as a percent of the 30-year normal rainfall (1971-2000). Please click on the map to view a full-sized version.

This map shows the 2010 rainfall as a percent of the 30-year normal rainfall (1971-2000). Please click on the map to view a full-sized version. If you would like to see the precipitation as a departure from normal please CLICK HERE.

Below are some statistics from 2010 for Lubbock:

The year of 2010 will go down in the books as being much wetter and slightly warmer than average. The first major winter storm brought a variety of weather including rain, thunderstorms, ice and snow to the region on the 28th of January, with Lubbock officially receiving 1.36 inches of liquid. The large dump of precipitation put Lubbock above average for the year and we never looked back as the first four months of 2010 all finished well above average.  Monthly rain totals did fall back below average for May and June, but record rains over the 4th of July weekend pushed the yearly total above the average yearly rainfall by the 4th.  However, as is typically for West Texas, the pendulum swung the other way and 4 of the final 5 months finished with less precipitation than average.  Even with the relatively dry ending, Lubbock finished the year with 26.46 inches - 7.77 inches above average.

Lubbock recorded only two 100-degree days in 2010 and both of them occurred during the first half of June. The highest temperature of the year was 105 degrees, recorded on June 5th. The other 100-degree day occurred on the 10th, when the mercury hit 102 degrees. On the other extreme, the coldest temperature recorded for the year was 11 degrees on January 8th. Additionally, 5 record highs were set in 2010: 91 degrees on March 30th; 90 degrees on October 30th; 82 degrees on December 3rd; 82 degrees on December 14th; and 80 degrees on December 15th.  One record low was set in 2010: 51 degrees on August 26th.

LUBBOCK
Average High
Average Low
Precip (inches)
January
53.2
25.3
1.41
February
49.8
28.7
1.78
March
65.9
36.7
2.85
April
73.6
48.3
4.65
May
82.5
56.5
1.14
June
93.9
68.0
2.55
July
86.5
68.2
7.14
August
 93.2 
67.3
1.33
September
 87.9 
61.8
0.93
October
 79.4 
47.9
2.61
November
 66.9 
34.7
0.07
December
 60.6
 30.2
T
Annual
74.5
47.8
26.46
Normal
73.2
46.2
18.69
Departure
+1.3
+1.6
+7.77

The graph below shows the daily high and low temperature distribution for 2010 at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. Temperatures showed pretty common variability throughout much of the year, and were generally slightly above average. However, the variability was notably damped during the first half of February and through much of July, when high temperatures were also below average. These atypical periods correspond to times during and shortly after heavy precipitation events (January 28th and February 3rd rain and snow events and the early July heavy rain event).  This makes sense because added moisture, like that provided by the rain and snow events, commonly has the effect of damping diurnal temperature swings, with cooler highs and warmer lows. 

Plot of the maximum and minimum temperatures (connect by the dark blue bars) observed at the Lubbock airport in 2010. Also plotted are the respective normals (light orange line - average high; light blue line - average low) and records (thick orange line - record high; thick blue line - record low) for each date. Units are in degrees Fahrenheit. Click on the graph for a larger view.
Plot of the maximum and minimum temperatures (connect by the dark blue bars) observed at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in 2010. Also plotted are the respective normals (light orange line - average high; light blue line - average low) and records (thick orange line - record high; thick blue line - record low) for each date. Units are in degrees Fahrenheit. Click on the graph for a larger view.

 

The graph below shows the yearly distribution of precipitation for 2010 at Lubbock. The year was punctuated by bouts of heavy precipitation, most frequently during the first half of the year. Over one inch of rain fell on 11 different days, with greater than two inches on four different occasions (April 16th, July 2nd, July 3rd, and October 21st). July 3rd brought the heaviest daily rainfall of the year with 3.27 inches. The large amount of days with heavy precipitation contributed to 2010 finishing nearly 8 inches above average.

 

Plot of the cumulative (blue) and daily precipitation (black), in inches, recorded at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in 2010. Also plotted is the 30-year average precipitation (red). Click on the image for a larger view.
Plot of the cumulative (blue) and daily precipitation (black), in inches, recorded at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in 2010. Also plotted is the 30-year average precipitation (red). Click on the image for a larger view.

 


Tornadic thunderstorm near Cee Vee - 22 April 2010
2010 TORNADOES AND OTHER SEVERE WEATHER
Thunderstorm viewed from South Plains - 21 May 2010

Tornadic thunderstorm near Cee Vee -
22 April 2010

Thunderstorm viewed from South Plains -
21 May 2010

Eight tornadoes were reported across the Lubbock forecast area in 2010. While this number is lower than average, two of them that occurred on April 22nd were significant. One tornado, rated at EF2 (damage corresponding to wind speeds of 110-137 mph), developed south of Northfield and crossed the Motley and Cottle County line southwest of Cee Vee. This 3/4 mile wide tornado destroyed windmills and utility poles as it tracked through rural ranchlands. A second tornado from the same parent storm formed a 3/4 mile wide rain-wrapped tornado that track south and southeast of Cee Vee and heavily damaged or destroyed three farmsteads.  This tornado was also rated EF3, with damage corresponding to estimated winds of 138-167 mph.  Thankfully, no injuries were reported from either of these tornadoes. 

The remaining 6 tornadoes observed in 2010 were relatively minor and short-lived and rated as EF0. In addition to the two damaging tornadoes on April 22nd, one weak tornado was noted near Swearingen.  Three other brief tornadoes dropped in Castro County, near Dimmitt, on May 25th.  The last two weak tornadoes occurred on June 2nd and 14th near New Home and Wilson, respectively. 

 

 Map showing some of the significant weather events than ocurred during 2010 in the area

Map displaying the 8 reported tornadoes that impacted the Lubbock forecast area in 2010. Also plotted are some of the other significant weather events of the year. Click on the image for a larger view

MONTHLY 2010 HIGHLIGHTS:

JANUARY:
28th: A strong winter storm brought a wide variety of weather including rain, thunderstorms, freezing rain, sleet and snow.  Muleshoe, Rhea and Happy received a half of foot of snow, with near an inch of ice in Memphis, Childress and Paducah.  To learn more about this event CLICK HERE. 

FEBRUARY :
3rd: A moisture rich storm system brought over an inch of rain to much of the region. In addition, the southern Texas Panhandle and northern South Plains picked up a widespread 1 to 5 inches of snow, with Dimmitt getting 7 inches. To read a more complete summary of the event CLICK HERE.
11th: A quick hitting storm brought snow to much of the region, with 1-4 inches fairly common. The heaviest snow fell in the southern Rolling Plains, with Aspermont picking up a half a foot. A summary of this event can be FOUND HERE.
22-23rd: Yet another winter storm brought a widespread 2-4 inches of snow to the area. The heaviest snow was found from Tahoka to Post where a persistent snow band brought 5 inches. A detailed explanation of this snow event is AVAILABLE HERE.
28th- March 1st: A powerful storm system brought widespread rain and a brief bout of snow to much of West Texas. The southeast South Plains and the southern Rolling Plains picked up over an inch of liquid before the system moved on.  CLICK HERE for details on this winter storm. 

MARCH:
1st: March came in like a lion as rain and light snow visited the region (see the above February 28th- March 1 post for details or VISIT THIS SITE).
15-16th: A moisture rich storm system brought widespread rain, which mixed with and changed to snow in some locations. Snowfall totals were rather light (1 to 2 inches in spots), but the central and eastern South Plains and western Rolling Plains received 1 to over 2 inches of liquid.  To read more about this heavy precipitation maker CLICK HERE 
20th: Another shot of winter hit the area just in time for the first official day of spring.  An upper level storm system initially brought thunderstorms, with rain to sleet to snow. The precipitation changed to all snow with 1-2 inches of total accumulation experienced for most locations.  Learn more about this event HERE.  

APRIL:
15-16th: A slow moving upper level storm system combined with abundant Gulf of Mexico moisture to bring record setting rains for much of the region.  Lubbock set daily rainfall records for both the 15th and 16th with 1.66 inches and 2.54 inches, respectively.  The total rain at Lubbock over the entire event, which spanned into four days, was 4.54 inches.   To read more about the heavy rains CLICK HERE.
22nd: Severe thunderstorms brought strong winds, large hail and tornadoes to portions of the South Plains, Rolling Plains and southern Texas Panhandle. The strongest storm produced a tornado that caused damage to several homesteads in Cottle County. Learn more about this severe weather event HERE.

MAY:
10th: A dynamic storm system brought strong winds to West Texas. The most intense winds were confined to the southern Texas Panhandle and northwest South Plains where gusts exceeded 60 mph. A more complete report on this wind maker can be found HERE.
17th: A morning thunderstorm complex brought severe weather, in the form of large hail, damaging winds and flooding rains to a swath from Hart to Plainview to Floydada to Aspermont.  A wind gust to 84 mph was recorded near Floydada, with golf ball sized hail in Aspermont. Details on the rare morning severe weather can be HERE.
Late May: Several rounds of severe weather visited the region, not too uncommon for late spring in West Texas. Severe weather affected parts of the region on the 21st, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 31st of May.  The most intense storms produced baseball to softball sized hail from near Muleshoe to Friona to Dimmitt, along a couple of brief tornado touchdowns near Dimmitt on the 25th.  CLICK HERE for details on the late May severe weather.

JUNE:
Early June: The active late May weather continued into June 1st and 2nd. A complex of thunderstorms tracked through the central South Plains and into the Rolling Plains on the 1st, occasionally producing severe hail and damaging wind gusts.  Scattered slow-moving severe thunderstorms then brought large hail and locally heavy rain to a few locations on the South and Rolling Plains on the 2nd, with a brief landspout also observed in Lynn County.  To read more about the active late May and early June weather CLICK HERE.
14th: Two rounds of severe weather impacted the region. First, a slow moving thunderstorm complex produced very heavy rain and strong straight line winds near Turkey, Texas, during the early morning hours. A wind gust of 101 mph was recorded just to the west-southwest of Turkey. Then, more widespread thunderstorms developed during the afternoon hours and brought strong winds, large hail and torrential downpours to parts of the South Plains and Rolling Plains.  A wind gust to 84 mph and a brief tornado was observed by the VORTEX 2 project just southwest of Wilson.  A summary of this day's weather can be found HERE.
17th: A severe thunderstorm heavily damaged a center pivot in Lamb County, with wind gusts in excess of 70 mph observed near Amherst. More information on this event can be garnered HERE.
All of June: The month brought hot weather to the region, ranking as the 6th warmest June on record for Lubbock. The average high for the month was a scorching 93.9 degrees, some 3.9 degrees above average. VISIT HERE for details on the heat.
  

JULY:
1st-4th: Tropical rains pounded the region, making for an extremely wet 4th of July weekend. Most of the region saw over 3 inches of rain, with a swath of 5-10+ inches falling across the southeast half of the South Plains into the south and west Rolling Plains. Many locations that saw the most intense rainfall experienced flooding and flash flooding. The tremendous runoff also resulted in minor river flooding along the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos. A much more detailed look at this record setting rain event is AVAILABLE HERE.
July: After the very wet start to the month much drier conditions returned for the middle and end of the month.  Still, thanks to the extreme rains early in the month, July 2010 went down as the second wettest July on record for Lubbock with 7.14 inches. The wettest July on record was 1976, when 7.20 inches fell.
 

AUGUST:
Mid-August: Isolated to occasionally scattered thunderstorms visiting the region during the middle of August.  In general, the storms were rather tame, though occasionally they became strong to severe and produced damaging winds, small hail and locally heavy rains. The activity peaked on the 16th and 17th when an upper level disturbance grazed the area.  In addition to the isolated severe weather, the rounds of storms brought beneficial rainfall to much of the region.  Read more about the August storms HERE.

SEPTEMBER:
16th: Scattered thunderstorms developed from northeast to southwest across the region during the afternoon and evening hours of the hot and humid September day. The most intense storms occurred over parts of Amarillo into Palo Duro Canyon, where over 3 inches of rain and up to grapefruit sized hail fell. Storms were not quite as intense further south, but still were occasionally severe and generated damaging winds and large hail. More widespread heavy rain also developed across the southern Rolling Plains late, where 2 to 3 plus inches fell. Details on this day can be FOUND HERE. 

OCTOBER:
21st-22nd: Severe thunderstorm generated up to golf ball sized hail over parts of the southern South Plain during the afternoon and evening hours of the 21st. In addition, slow moving storms brought torrential rains from in and around Brownfield and Meadow through southeast Lubbock and western Crosby Counties. Locations in the heaviest swath of rain measure 2 to in excess of 4 inches.  A more complete story on this event can be VIEWED HERE.  

NOVEMBER:
November: The month was characterized by generally warm and dry weather.  A majority of the precipitation that did visit the region occurred on the 12th, when a strong upper level storm system brought rain and even some snow to parts of the area. To read a detailed summary for the month CLICK HERE.

DECEMBER:
29nd-31st: The warm and dry weather continued into December. In fact, the average temperature at Lubbock for the month of December was 45.4 degrees, making it the 6th warmest December on record. Record high temperatures of 82 degrees were recorded at Lubbock on the 3rd and 14th, both only one degree shy of the warmest December temperature ever recorded (back in 1939). Late in the month, a powerful storm system brought strong winds to the region.  The winds peaked on the 30th when they were locally enhanced by high-based showers and thunderstorms during the evening. Amherst recorded a peak gust to 76 mph, while most other areas saw peak gusts in the 40-60 mph range. The winds and dry conditions also stoked a fire near Levelland. Read more about the strong winter storm HERE.

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