Drought Eases In The Houston Area, But It's Not Yet Over

The steady, soaking rain we saw last week and earlier this week is helping Harris and surrounding counties slowly emerge from the drought. But not everything is back to where it should be, yet.

Brian Fuchs is a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  Every week, the center puts out a Drought Monitor map.  Fuchs says this week's map shows the ground and various waterways in Harris County responded well to the recent rain.

"We went from a majority of the county being under some moderate-to-severe drought, to now, just the extreme western part of the county is showing moderate drought.  And then just some lingering abnormally dry conditions that, if we get continued precipitation, we'll start to see the potential to improve upon those, as well."

The key, of course, is continued precipitation.  There's hardly any rain in the forecast for the next week or so.  But Fuchs says with the lower demand for water in the winter, one dry week doesn't mean we'll slip right back to where we were.

"And if we, in the next month or so, if we see several of these rain events come through, I think the opportunity to improve not only the Houston area, but the surrounding areas even more so, and get out of that drought situation, is very likely."

Fuchs says rainfall amounts have generally caught up to where they should be over a twelve month period.  But it takes time for rivers and streams, along with water tables, to respond to the rainfall.  And that's why it could be weeks before the area is no longer considered to be either abnormally dry, or in a moderate drought.

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