Are we headed toward drought?

Drought? Very possible
Drought? Very possible

These meager fronts have been bringing in meager amounts of rain this month (another on the schedule for Wednesday) and just by the numbers, we need rain! Since the beginning of the year, we’ve measured just more than five and half inches of rain which is below normal by more than four inches! Going back six months, from October to now, we’re at 14.54″, a deficit of 9.17″... about 40% below normal.

The Drought Monitor tells an interesting story....look where the country was in March 2020, one year ago, with a small area of extreme drought (in red):

Drought March 2020

Now compare that with today:

Current Drought Areas

Also of note is that in Southeast Texas, we now have Abnormally Dry conditions as a minimum (yellow) to Moderate and Severe (browns) with Extreme (red) drought over parts of Matagorda and Brazoria counties:

Extreme Drought Areas

Here’s what those colors and levels mean:

First 3 Stages of Drought
Extreme Drought

What Does the Future Look Like?

Current Climate Forecasts for April-June are not looking up for more rain, predicting a 40% chance of Below Normal precipitation:

April-May-June Rainfall Forecast continues to look Below Normal!

This next comparison I found interesting. You’ll recall the horrific drought of 2011 (when we lost 10% of our trees across Texas and went through devastating wild fires). In March of 2011, this is what the drought conditions were:

Drought 2011 March

Look how quickly that ramped up in just THREE months. This is June of 2011:

Drought 2011 June

So you can see, it doesn’t take long to get us into serious drought. Fingers crossed for enough rain, but not too much!


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About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.