Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Your Weekly Drought Update: Improved, But Far From Over

Photo by Mose Buchele/StateImpact Texas

The skeleton of a fish sits on the dry shores of Lake Buchanan, which is nearing historically low levels.

Another week, another update from the National Drought Monitor. While there hasn’t been much movement this week, there are some signs of continued improvement: Three percent of the state moved out of the highest level of drought, “exceptional,” meaning now only twenty percent of Texas is in “exceptional” drought. That’s the lowest level since last April, and a far ways from the peak of 88 percent of the state in “exceptional” drought in early October.

Above-average rains in much of the state have brought real progress, particularly for Texans in urban areas. Dallas/Fort Worth has become drought-free, while much of Harris County (and Houston) and all of El Paso are now in the lightest stage of drought, the “moderate” level. Austin and San Antonio have moved from the second level of drought, “severe,” from levels of “extreme” and “exceptional” before that.

Some more details from the drought monitor give both good and bad news:

“Moderate to heavy rains exceeding 1 inch fell on much of southeastern Texas as well as isolated locations in southernmost and central parts of the state. Despite the fact these rains brought 30-day totals to over 5 inches (and over 10 in isolated spots) in some east-central and southeastern areas, only modest regional improvement seemed warranted, since 6-month totals remained more than 8 inches below normal across most of the D2 to D4 areas. As a result, Lake Somerville remained at only 59% of capacity, the lowest since records began in 1990.

In contrast, one area in and around San Antonio was improved to D1 after moderate rainfall. The Bexar Index Well has risen 9 feet in the past month, and is over 20 feet above the low recorded last summer. In addition, the Edwards Aquifer rose to its highest level since late April 2011.”

Read more at our topic page, Everything You Need to Know About the Texas Drought.


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