It’s time for another update on the Texas drought from the U.S. Drought Monitor, published every Thursday morning. And sadly, the pattern of regression we’ve seen over the past few months has taken a slight step back. The numbers:
- Nearly 21 percent of the state is in the worst level of drought, “exceptional.” That’s 6 percent more of the state since last week. Much of that increase has taken place in Southwest Texas, in Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties.
- While more of the state is in “exceptional” drought, it’s important to remember that at the peak of the drought in October, 86 percent of the state was at this level. “Exceptional” drought, according to the monitor, means “exceptional and widespread crop [and] pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies.”
- There were some small increases in the other categories of severity as well, with 42 percent of Texas now in “extreme” drought, up from near 39 percent last week, and 71 percent of the state now in “severe” drought, up from 67 percent last week.
- 6 percent of the state is drought-free, and all of the major cities in Texas are either out of drought or in the lighter stages of drought.
While this week’s report does show a little turn for the worse in the Texas drought, there is rain in the forecast for much of Texas over the next few days. And in an update today, the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA says that La Niña, the weather pattern largely responsible for the drought, continues to weaken and will be gone by April. And she’ll stay away for the summer, which could bring more rain during the typically-wetter months of late spring and early summer.
Read more at the National Drought Mitigation Center.