HOUSTON -

The city of Houston had to spend $7 million to replace dead trees because of the drought, but with the recent rain and more to come this week, there is some hope that we will get some relief.

"By some estimates, this is a billion-dollar event in terms of unexpected costs," said Barry Ward, Executive Director of Trees for Houston.

Texas has taken a beating because of the lack of rain, but it's more than an inconvenience. Some estimate it's costing us millions of dollars, including how much we pay for electricity.

"Your bill may have gone up 10 or 15 percent if you lost a tree on the south or east side of your home," explained Ward. "There are huge costs in removal, and now we are dealing with the huge cost of replacing."

Trees For Houston is a non-profit organization helping plant, promote and protect trees all over our area.

Ward said local parks, many of which lost 50, 60, 70 percent of their trees, are just no longer the green places of beauty that they were prior to 2011. However, he adds the recent rain is helping.

"The main thing you see is the trees you saw severe die back on, particularly some younger trees a year ago, are now starting to get green again and healthy again," he said.

More help is on the way. Another cold front will be climbing out of the Rockies and arrive in Texas Wednesday. Ahead of the front: more showers.

Rice University Climatologist Dr. Ronald Sass said our past and future rain this week is not enough though. He explained only a tropical system will free us from the drought.

Looking at the numbers, at least there is some progress. The latest figures from the Drought Monitor show 70 percent of Texas is under some form of drought -- that is down 10 percent from last week. Also, the percentage of area under extreme drought has been cut in half to 4 percent.

Closer to home, the western and southern regions of the state are now under just a moderate drought.

We will know on Thursday whether we are getting closer to breaking the drought in southeast Texas; that is when the weekly Drought Monitor figures will be released.

If you need a replacement tree, Trees for Houston has scheduled events where they give away trees for free. The next scheduled event is Oct. 26 for CenterPoint Energy customers. If you are a customer of CenterPoint Energy and would like to sign up, go to ArborDay.org/CenterPoint. You have until noon on Oct. 25 to reserve your tree.