Texas Suffers Worst One-Year Drought on Record

The drought in Texas is now the worst on record. The combination of extreme heat and little rainfall makes this the worst one-year drought.

The state has kept weather records since 1895 and this year beats them all in the drought department.

State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon says July was the driest month on record and the hottest month as well.

"Our only competition at this point is the drought that began in 1950 and went to 1957, 1956 was the depth of that drought. Fortunately this one has only lasted for ten months so far."

Even though this drought is shorter than the one in the 1950s, there are no signs of it stopping any time soon. Here in Houston, we get more rain than other areas, so it's easy to forget how significant the drought is in the rest of the state.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says he can't overstate how serious the situation is for the Texas environment and economy.

"This extreme heat and unprecedented dry weather is having the impact of literally crippling agricultural operations all across Texas. Virtually all areas of Texas have been impacted to some level and the drought index monitor shows that an unusually large part of Texas is facing extremely abnormal dry conditions."

About 91 percent of Texas range land is listed in poor or very poor condition. Staples estimates the drought will cost Texas more than $4 billion in lost crops, livestock and water supplies.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...