Harvey Who? Much of Texas Back in Drought


Just five months after Hurricane Harvey pounded Texas with record amounts of rainfall, the state is again facing the 'D' word---drought. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, more than 40 percent of Texas is in moderate to severe drought, with most of the rest of the state still considered 'abnormally dry.' The problem is particularly bad in the Texas panhandle. "In North Texas and the panhandle, the ground is bone dry," says John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist. "There are places that haven't had rain in over three months."

Whenever drought conditions persist, it leads to two major concerns. First, the impact on agriculture. Nielsen-Gammon says it's too early to measure that, but it is definitely a threat. "We've seen big drought right now going on from Texas to across much of Oklahoma and into Kansas, so a significant part of the winter wheat crop could be affected by this," he tells KTRH. The second concern is the threat of wildfires. On that front, Nielsen-Gammon believes relief may come before summer. "When we get into the wet season of the spring, that usually is enough to get things greened up and reduce the wildfire dangers," he says.

As for how long these drought conditions will last, it could be at least several months. "The outlook calls for below-normal rainfall through winter and early spring because of (the La Niña affect)," says Nielsen-Gammon. "It's pretty rare we go through something like (the 2011 drought) where not only was the winter dry, but so was the spring and then the summer...hopefully things will get back to normal way before then."


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