How much rain DO we need?

Check out this tool

courtesy Victor Gutierrez on click2pins

We all pretty much know we’re in a drought, and if you look at the past 22 years, this is the second worst since 2011.

Here’s a graph showing our dry years using those red spikes and, while the really big one is clearly the 2011 drought, you can’t help but notice the one for this year to the far right is expanding:

The darkest red indicates the most severe drought

The latest drought monitor shows how extreme and exceptional the dryness is across Texas:

52% of the state is experiencing exceptional or extreme drought

And while there may be ‘abnormally dry’ areas, there is simply nowhere in Texas that isn’t under some kind of drought. So as some folks hope for a slug of tropical moisture, the real question becomes “Just how much rain do we need to solve the drought?”

Check out this tool

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Environmental Information offers a whole drought information website, and on it, you can look at Current Drought Reduction -- in other words, how much rain do we need to end the drought or at least ameliorate it (fancy word for ‘make it better’)? And what are the percentage odds that we will get that much rain in a given time? You can put in a host of different scenarios using drop-down menus:

courtesy NOAA's National Environmental Information Center

Here’s an example, and you can see the drought areas across the United States and, in this case, the rain needed to end the drought in one month:

courtesy NOAA National Environmental Information Center

If you zoom in to our part of Texas to find out how much rain we’d need in a month to cure the drought, you’ll see a rather unsettling answer: More than 17″! And what are the chances of getting that much rain in a month? .01%

courtesy NOAA National Environmental Information Center

There are plenty of parameters to this tool that you can put in -- for instance, how much rain the rest of the year would we need to at least ‘help’ with the drought? About two feet!! And what are the odds of getting that much? 23%. The odds of completely ending the drought by the end of the year? 6%.

You can look at all the different parameters on the website, just go here. It’s really fascinating, if not a little scary.

Happy Hump Day! Let’s hope for rain!


Email me and follow me on Facebook!

About the Authors:

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

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.