Texas drought officially over, climatologist says

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas drought – one of the worst the state has ever experienced – has officially ended, according to figures from Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, who also serves as a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.

Nielsen-Gammon says that the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released recently, shows none of the state in drought. Only a few small patches of the state, near the Coastal Bend and along the Texas-Mexico border, are still depicted as abnormally dry.

“The drought began in fall 2007, as an unusually wet year for Texas suddenly turned dry,” he noted. “The lack of rainfall led to the first drought impacts in late fall and winter of 2007-2008. In the summer of 2008 much of the state experienced drought relief with two tropical cyclones, Dolly and Ike, but core areas of the drought in south-central and southern Texas missed out on much of the tropical rainfall. A second straight dry winter followed, and while spring rains shrunk the area of drought in Texas considerably, core areas of the drought continued to degrade.”

Nielsen-Gammon said that by summer 2009, three counties in south-central Texas (Bastrop, Caldwell and Lee) and six counties in south Texas (Victoria, Bee, San Patricio, Live Oak, Jim Wells and Duval) were experiencing their worst droughts on record, according to his tabulations.

But ample rainfall during the fall and winter has allowed pastures to begin to recover and reservoirs to fill, he said.

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