The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, issued Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center, indicates that nearly all of southeast Texas continues to suffer from severe to extreme drought. The driest areas are west and north of Houston.
87 percent of Texas is in some form of drought. 19 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, the two most severe categories.
While we have been lucky enough to get periodic scattered showers and storms, the reality is that our rain totals are woefully deficient. Based on data from the National Weather Service, over the past 12 months we are anywhere from 11 inches of rain behind in College Station to 22 inches behind at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Go back even further, to the beginning of 2008, and the numbers are more dire. At Intercontinental Airport, Hobby Airport, and in College Station, the rainfall deficit is 48 to 52 inches. That's over FOUR FEET of rain below normal. In Galveston, the deficit is 85 inches. That's over SIX FEET!
Needless to say, we have a long way to go to climb out of the extended drought. It will take more than the scattered storms that we have been getting to put us back in good shape. At this point, it will take either a huge surge of tropical moisture in the form of a tropical storm or hurricane, or a long-term pattern of very steady, wet weather -- neither of which are in the forecast anytime soon.