This week’s drought map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows a familiar picture of Texas: about 60 percent of the state somewhere between abnormally dry and being in extreme drought, affecting more than 12 million people. At the start of the summer, that drought percentage was only 4.6. Here are five things you need to know about the current weather and long-range forecast, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Treadway.
1. High pressure has kept much of our region warm and dry, but El Niño should bring a wet fall starting in mid-October and an especially wet winter.
2. Southern Travis County is categorized as abnormally dry, Treadway said, while the northeastern and northwestern corners of the county are in moderate drought.
3. “Abnormally dry” means just that — less than normal rainfall amounts. On the other end of the spectrum, “exceptional droughts” are conditions not typically seen for 50 years or more. Water-use restrictions kick in once areas reach moderate to severe drought.
4. About 4.72 percent of the state — or more than a dozen Texas counties, including Milam and Guadalupe — are in extreme drought.
5. Although El Niño phenomena are typically associated with cooler and wetter conditions, a stronger El Niño often will delay the heaviest rains from fall into the winter.