The drought that has gripped much of the Southwest in an iron fist for the past three years likely will continue through the remainder of 2013, at least in Texas.
The latest report from the Texas Water Development Board points to a less than optimistic outlook for rainfall this fall.
But the report also includes some surprises. The arid Far West region of Texas is considered drought free. Counties east of the I-35 Corridor, however, “wither” under severe drought conditions. Counties included in the metroplex areas of Houston, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, continue under severe drought status.
And things are not likely to get better. “The current outlook for the remainder of 2013 indicates drought will persist across most of Texas with some improvements possible in the Texas Panhandle and the East Texas region,” the report says.
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The latest data indicate 96 percent of the state is currently under drought status; that’s unchanged from last week and one percentage point more than three months ago. This time last year, 90 percent of the state was in drought status.
The long-term drought also accelerates groundwater level declines, a factor across most of the state. The report indicates falling water levels in 14 of the 17 observed wells across the state.