Virtually All Of Houston Area Now Out Of Drought

The Houston Metro area has essentially recovered from a multi-year drought. The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows no drought conditions at all in Harris, Fort Bend, Waller, Montgomery, Liberty, and Chambers counties.

Only Brazoria and Galveston counties are still reporting what are called “abnormally dry” conditions. That’s one step below drought.

“Since early 2012, we’re seeing near-normal to even above-normal precipitation, and that’s what has allowed the improvement to be shown with drought really being erased in much of East Texas,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

He says the impacts of drought, such as tight water supplies and difficulties keeping crops and livestock adequately hydrated, haven’t been seen in this area for quite some time.

According to Fuchs, Southeast Texas is still somewhat vulnerable to slipping back into the same hot and dry weather patterns that brought on the drought in the first place.

“Now, with that being said, going into this time of year, it’s a little less likely.  With water demand being down during the winter months, we typically don’t see that rapid development of drought anticipated — especially coming off some fairly wet periods,” Fuchs said.

Right now, the U.S. Drought Monitor finds that nearly half of Texas is in at least a “moderate” drought, with the driest areas stretching from North Central Texas through the Panhandle. The most severe conditions are around Wichita Falls.

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David Pitman

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The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...