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Texas Grit: Dust Bowl Droughts

See related: Texas Grit

Since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, the Texas Panhandle Plains region has experienced significant droughts in the 1950s and in the 2000s. But the effects of those droughts have been tempered by improved agricultural practices, soil-conservation programs, and the expansion of irrigated farming made possible by the tapping of the Ogallala Aquifer. Here are National Weather Service records for rainfall totals in Amarillo during the droughts of the 1930s, 1950s, and 2000s, as well as a ranking of Amarillo’s 10 driest years on record. The Amarillo average is about 20 inches of annual precipitation. Thanks to Sarah Johnson of the National Weather Service’s Amarillo office for providing this information.

Driest Years

RANK YEAR PRECIPITATION
1 2011 7.00
2 1970 9.56
3 1956 9.94
4 1910 11.15
5 1952 12.15
6 1933 12.22
7 2012 12.33
8 1953 13.05
9 1934 13.33
10 1980 13.39

 

1930s Amarillo precipitation totals in inches

1930: 17.58

1931: 18.35

1932: 21.14

1933: 12.22

1934: 13.33

1935: 15.49

1936: 19.14

1937: 17.1

1938: 19.1

1939: 21.01

 

1950s Amarillo precipitation totals

1950: 23.18

1951: 25.29

1952: 12.15

1953: 13.05

1954: 13.89

1955: 13.71

1956: 9.94

1957: 21.24

1958: 23.29

1959: 22.81

 

2000s Amarillo precipitation totals in inches

2000: 18.38

2001: 18.69

2002: 18.25

2003: 13.42

2004: 27.31

2005: 15

2006: 21.88

2007: 22.5

2008: 22.42

2009: 21.15

2010: 26.54

2011: 7

2012: 12.33

2013: 14.89 as of Nov. 26

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