Some drought news from across the state today (95 percent of which is still in drought):
- Houston (specifically, all of Harris County) has been lifted out of the most severe stage of drought, “exceptional” for the first time since March. An “exceptional” level of drought means “widespread crop/pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies” according to the US drought monitor.
- But the western half of Harris County is still in “extreme” drought, and the other half is only one level better, “severe,” according to Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle.
- The burn ban that had been lifted for several weeks in Travis County (where Austin is located) has been reinstated. “At their meeting this morning, the Travis County Commissioners approved a recommendation from county Fire Marshall Hershel Lee to reinstate the ban,” StateImpact partner KUT News reports.
- Nearly half of Travis County is still in the highest level of drought (“exceptional”) and the other half — to the West — is at the next highest level, “extreme.” Dallas-Fort Worth and El Paso are faring much better, both of them in “moderate” and “severe” levels of drought.
- What does the future hold? No relief anytime soon, according to climatologist Brian Fuchs of the U.S. Drought Monitor. He told USA Today that “there are fairly good odds that the winter will continue to be on the warm and dry side in the Southern U.S.”