HOUSTON -

July has been a relatively wet month for some of us, but the latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows little improvement for southeast Texas.

Some improvement was expected after a stretch of July days with impressive rainfall in some areas around Houston.  And, in fact, we did see areas, especially northwest and south of the city, where the drought improved from the extreme category to severe.

SE Texas Drought 07-25-13

Most of the region, though, still suffers from at least a severe drought -- including all of metropolitan Houston.

The reason we aren't seeing more of an improvement is that July's wet weather pales in comparison to the scale of the dry stretch leading up to it, which started in September, 2012.  At Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport nearly 4 inches of rain has fallen so far in July.  Since September, though, we've built up a rainfall deficit of more than 20 inches.  The graph below shows similar stories for Hobby airport, Galveston, and College Station.

Rain Deficit September to July 07-25-13

What we really need is a prolonged period -- several months -- of normal to above normal rainfall to make the drought go away entirely.  Aside from that, only a tropical deluge coming in from the Gulf of Mexico would do the trick.

In the meantime, we'll continue the pattern of being teased by short bursts of wet weather only to be let down by subsequent long dry spells.  It's a perfect example of the old saying, "One step forward, two steps back."