Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Rain Eases Drought, But Doesn’t Break It

Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News
The Texas Water Development Board heard an update Thursday on the historic drought gripping Texas.

Cooler temperatures and more rain have lifted much of the state out of the most serious level of drought. In early October, 88 percent of Texas was in exceptional drought, as of Tuesday – that was down to 41 percent. That might sound like progress, but as Hydrologist Mark Wentzel told the Board, there is still more of Texas in exceptional drought today than at any other time this century.

“So as good as this look relative to early October,” Wentzel told the panel, “it’s still more than twice as bad as the conditions of 2009.”

The bad news didn’t end there. Reservoir levels hit an all time record low at the end of November.

“Our records for that go back to 1978. So we’re down to 58 percent across the state,” Wentzel reported.

Wentzel told the board that Texas would probably head into the spring in a pretty rough state. The National Drought Monitor is predicting the drought to continue in most of the state into next year.