Aug 22, 2023 - Climate

San Antonio could get rain, heat relief Tuesday

Illustration of an umbrella collecting cobwebs.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

San Antonio could get rain Tuesday and Wednesday — the region's first recorded rainfall in more than a month.

  • We may also get a momentary reprieve from the extreme heat, with a high temperature below 100 on Tuesday. The last time San Antonio had a high below 100 was July 29, when the mercury reached 99.

Why it matters: Rain and lower temperatures could bring much needed relief — and hope — to San Antonians, who have endured a hot, dry summer amid a drought that has worsened in recent months.

What's happening: Meteorologists are watching a potential tropical cyclone in the Gulf of Mexico, with a slight risk of heavy rainfall for South Texas on Tuesday. San Antonio could feel some impact.

  • The San Antonio forecast calls for a 70% chance of rain Tuesday and a high of 95, although the heat index, or "feels like" temperature, could still reach 100.
  • There's a 30% chance of rain in San Antonio Wednesday morning, and then the high temperature is expected to kick back up to 100.
  • There's a possibility of isolated tornadoes and strong winds.

Yes, but: Don't expect a lot of rain — it may only amount to between a tenth and a quarter of an inch, but could be higher depending on how any thunderstorms shake out.

Flashback: The last time the San Antonio area received any daily rainfall was July 7, per National Weather Service records, and it was less than an inch.

By the numbers: San Antonio has had nearly 13 inches of rainfall so far this year, per the San Antonio Water System.

  • That's almost 8 inches less than what we would get in a normal year.

Zoom in: The Edwards Aquifer, the source of more than half ofSan Antonio's drinking water, is currently at 627 feet above sea level.

  • It has dropped sharply — more than 20 feet — in this summer's hot, dry weather. In the spring, when we received more consistent rainfall, the aquifer's level was around 648 feet.
  • Drought restrictions are triggered when the aquifer drops below 660 feet above sea level.
Data: San Antonio Water System; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: San Antonio Water System; Chart: Axios Visuals

Be smart: Rain needs to fall in the right place — over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge and Contributing zones in the Hill Country — to help replenish our drinking supply.

Catch up fast: San Antonio has been under watering restrictions for more than a year.

  • The Edwards Aquifer Authority, which manages water withdrawals, implemented stage 4 drought restrictions in late July. But San Antonio remains in stage 2 restrictions because SAWS has other water sources.
  • The water utility has issued more than 3,000 citations so far this year for violations of watering restrictions.

The latest: SAWS this month proposed changes to its drought management plan, seeking better enforcement to save water. The fee for a citation has not changed in two decades, per SAWS.

  • Changes include moving from a municipal court citation to a water bill charge so that the utility can enforce the rules itself.
  • SAWS is also looking to increase penalty fees in deeper stages of drought. Fees range from $50 to $2,000 now.
  • Officials are looking for feedback on the proposals. The utility's board could vote on the changes before the end of the year.

What's next: Temperatures could hover above normal for most of Texas from September through November, per the latest three-month outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. But our chances for rain could grow to more normal levels.

The bottom line: San Antonians would be glad to get some rain but should expect to remain under drought restrictions and watering schedules.


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