Until recently, maps detailing drought conditions across Texas were pockmarked with orange and brown tones thanks to years of low rainfall – but that’s no longer the case.
National Weather Service forecasters said a mostly blank map “(never) looked this good” Friday after weather officials said Texas was more than 94% drought free.
Data as of Thursday, August 5, 2021 showed that 94.72% of the state had no drought conditions after about a decade after the 2011 drought that dried out much of Texas.
“People looking for extra rain – it was pretty good for them,” said Pat O’Quinn, NWS meteorologist for the Central West Texas area. “We have been very lucky in the last few months with a lot of moisture and some disturbances that have led to widespread (rain).”
The numbers have improved rapidly from last year when just over 58% of Texas was “abnormally dry”. In early 2021, about 8% of the state was drought free, and in 3 months it was 33.23%.
The rains also helped lakes and reservoirs across Texas, with many bodies of water from Abilene to the Louisiana border being 70-90% full, according to waterdatafortexas.org.
The western part of Texas, including Amarillo, San Angelo, and San Antonio, had levels between 5% at OC Fisher Lake and 99.9% at Lake Alan Henry.
What will the weather be like in Texas in the coming months?
While the weather in Texas can be temperamental, according to the Drought Monitor, weather officials expect the chance of rain in the southern part of the state to continue for the next week.
An August weather forecast from the Climate Prediction Center shows Texas has a roughly 33% chance of cooler temperatures and parts of East Texas have a 40% chance.
Weather officials say rainfall will vary in the southeast and northwest parts of Texas, which have a higher than average chance of showers.
“Our region (West Central Texas) has a 30-40% chance of being below average temperatures,” said O’Quinn. “For the 3-month outlook, there is a chance that the temperatures will be slightly above normal. In terms of precipitation, we are roughly in the normal range.”
The centre’s report for September-November shows a 40% chance of above-average temperatures in most parts of Texas and a 33% chance of below-average rainfall.
Alana Edgin is a West Texas crime and justice journalist. Send her a message tip at [email protected]