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Drought Conditions Threaten Texas

Dry lakebed
Image courtesy Whatknot
A dry lakebed near Dallas in 2005. Latest weather data indicates most of Texas is "abnormally dry" right now.

The latest US Drought Monitor Map, released this morning, shows 85 percent of Texas is "abnormally dry."

Eighty Texas counties currently have burn bans in effect, according to a Texas Parks and Wildlife map. Travis County is not currently under a burn ban but the neighboring counties of Williamson, Lee, Burnet, and Blanco are.

Texas crop reports show tough growing conditions across the state. In Central Texas, "Winter wheat and other small gains made little progress, and pastures were stressed."

"It's definitely time to be worried," State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told KUT News. "This is not going to be a wet winter by any means. We've got La Nina conditions on the Pacific, which normally means drier than normal conditions."

"So far, it's definitely been drier than normal. The preliminary numbers report that November was the eighth driest on record. We're talking about dry conditions we haven't seen since the 1950s in some areas," he said.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.