This Week in Drought: Long Road May Lie Ahead

Map by NOAA

The latest NOAA forecast predicts the drought will "persist or intensify" in much of the state over the next three months.

While conditions have improved since the inferno that was the summer of 2011, much of Texas remains in serious drought. According the latest U.S. Drought Monitor Map, 88 percent of the state is in some level of drought conditions, with over a quarter of Texas in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought.

And the situation isn’t likely to improve in the near future, according to the latest three-month drought outlook released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). That forecast, pictured above, calls for the drought to “persist or intensify” through the end of May, with drought developing in other parts of the state.

If Texas has a dry May and June, it could spell real trouble, putting the state on the path to a multi-year drought worse than the drought of record in the 1950s. “This Spring, getting into May or June, things are set up to do one thing or the other,” state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told us recently. “So about the time when we’re either getting or not getting rain during the wettest time of the year, is when we’ll find out how the odds are going to stack up for the following winter,” he says.

In short, keep an eye on the skies come May.

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