The climate in Taylor County is semi-arid. Average temperatures range from a low of 31 degrees in January to a high of 96 degrees in July. Taylor County receives an average annual rainfall of 23.59 inches. On average, residents can enjoy 244 sunny days a year.
However, because of Taylor County’s location in Texas, residents should be prepared for the possibility of floods, storms and tornadoes.
With parts of the county in both floodplains and floodways, Taylor County residents should to be prepared for flash floods. A flash flood watch is issued when flash flooding is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended. A flash flood warning is issued for life- and property-threatening flooding that will occur within six hours. During a flash flood watch or warning, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for further weather information.
If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through any floodwaters — even water six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. The majority of deaths in a flash flood occur when people drive through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. Water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.
Taylor County is subject to thunderstorms, including supercell thunderstorms, which can produce large hail, high winds and tornadoes. A thunderstorm can knock out power and cause flash flooding as well.
Pay close attention to storm warnings and always follow the instructions of local officials. Head indoors when thunder and lightning hits, avoiding electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures. Unplug desktop computers and other electronics, or use a surge protector. The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule, which states that people should seek shelter if the “flash-to-bang” delay (length in time in seconds from the sight of lightning to the arrival of thunder) is 30 seconds or less and should remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunder clap. For more information, visit the National Weather Service at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
Partly due to its size, Texas has more tornadoes than any other state. Taylor County is in the southern part of “Tornado Alley.” Tornadoes usually form during a thunderstorm, and occasionally accompany tropical storms and hurricanes that move over land.
A tornado watch is issued when weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, such as during a severe thunderstorm. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately during a tornado warning.
Tornadoes can develop quickly, with minimal warning, so it is important to have a plan in place before they occur. Know where the safest place of shelter is in your home — a basement, or an inside room on the lowest floor (like a closet or bathroom) if your home does not have a basement. Avoid windows and get under something sturdy, like a heavy table, and cover your body with a blanket or mattress to protect yourself from flying debris.
For more information on tornado preparedness, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.