Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Half a Percent of Texas is No Longer in Drought

Map by U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor Map

The drought in the South has taken an enormous toll on the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. In Texas alone, the state has lost billions of dollars and counting. The drought has affected many parts of everyday life: burgerspeanut butter, even Christmas trees were hurt.

Well, those rains this week across much of the region have done some good. The latest drought numbers were released Thursday, and we can say that half a percent of Texas is no longer in drought.

Where is that land of normalcy, you ask? They’re those specks of white on the map to the the right. Along the Red River at the Northeast border between Texas and Oklahoma, and also in parts of Wise and Denton counties, some Texans are actually living drought-free.

And there’s other drought progress:

  • 25 percent of Texas is in the most extreme stage of drought, “exceptional,” down from 32 percent last week and a whopping 86 percent of the state in late September.
  • 62 percent of the state is in the two highest levels of drought, “exceptional” and “extreme,” down from 67 percent last week and 97 percent in late September.
  • 96 percent of the state is still at the level of “moderate” drought or higher.

And today comes news that Houston has lifted Stage 2 water restrictions after the recent heavy rains there. Those restrictions, which have been in place since August, allowed watering only twice a week. Stage 1 water restrictions are voluntary. Some parts of the city received over six inches of rain Monday, and Houston has had “nearly 13.5 inches of rain since October,” according to the Associated Press.

By way of comparison, here is the drought map from the peak of the drought in September:

Map by US Drought Monitor

The Texas drought on September 13, 2011

And here’s the drought monitor map from a month ago:

Map by National US Drought Monitor

 The Texas drought on December 15, 2011


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