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State Climatologist: Dry Conditions Could Worsen for Much of Texas

State Climatologist: Dry Conditions Could Worsen for Much of Texas
By Adam Russell
 
October and November were two of the driest Octobers and Novembers on record, and much of the state appears to be facing a continued dry spell through winter, according to the state climatologist.
 
Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, College Station, said conditions were excessively dry throughout the typically wet fall months, and dry conditions are expected to continue through the next several weeks at least. 
 
The lack of rain is causing concerns about fire danger, poorly developed winter pastures, including wheat, and dropping surface water levels for livestock, according to reports from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agents in areas that have missed rain events.
 
“When you get a dry spell it takes a while for soils to dry out, but they do get there,” he said. “Take the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, you saw extreme flooding in some areas and not much since then.”
 
Nielsen-Gammon said October-November 2017 was the 12th-driest since the state started keeping records in 1895. September and October are typically wetter months for Texas, he said, but rain hasn’t materialized.
 
No single county in Texas has received at least 4 inches of rain anywhere within its borders since the beginning of October, he said. Drier areas of the state, including North Central, West and South Texas, have received less than 2 inches over that period. Areas from the Winter Garden to Big Bend and from Lubbock to the Red River have received less than half an inch over those 60 days.
 
Warmer, sunny days, winds and lack of rain are drawing a growing portion of the state into drought conditions, he said. The drought monitor shows 35 percent of the state is in drought, up from just 2.5 percent a month ago, he said.
 
“October is usually one of the wettest months and oftentimes is extremely wet, but it’s been fairly dry and the forecast going forward into winter doesn’t look promising,” he said. “Overall for the next couple of weeks, it looks like most of the state will average less than half an inch of rainfall.”
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