It’s been raining across Texas, and more is on the way. In the map to the right from the National Weather Service, you can see predictions for rainfall between three to five inches through Sunday this week for much of the state.
It’s welcome news for West Texas, which continues to struggle with the ongoing drought, while the eastern half has greatly (though not completely) recovered. A new report by the Texas Agrilife Extension at Texas A&M University sheds some light on why one half of Texas has suffered more than the other.
“The thing that was unexpected was having East Texas not be in an extreme drought right now,” Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist, told Agrilife Extension. “We had a second year of La Niña last winter. It just finally ended officially last month. And normally – four years out of five – you end up with a dry winter. So things have worked out as well as possibly can be expected for East Texas.” But West Texas, Nielsen-Gammon said, is now in its second year of major drought. And above-normal temperatures aren’t helping.
A field report from Far West Texas (including the cities of Midland and Odessa) says that ranchers are culling their herds and having to use supplemental feed. “Without a significant rain soon, most will have to ship cattle out of the area,” the report says. “Livestock numbers remained low due to continuing drought conditions.” The field report for West Central Texas (including the city of San Angelo) says that moisture is “rapidly decreasing” in the soil and that all of the counties there need rain. ”Fire dangers have been noted in all areas,” the report says.
You can read more over at the Agrilife Extension’s Crop and Weather report. And you can learn more about the historic Texas drought at our interactive webpage: ‘Dried Out: Confronting the Texas Drought.’