Recent rain has lifted much of the Austin area from “severe” to “moderate” drought.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows an improvement across almost all of Central Texas. Williamson County went from extreme drought down to severe. And areas around Bastrop have improved to abnormally dry.
In fact, 12 percent of the state – much of Eastern Texas – is now classified as completely out of drought conditions.
Victor Murphy is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says it will still be a while before all of Texas sees long-term drought recovery.
“Rain events like last week are wonderful in that they, in essence, buy you a couple, three weeks’ time before conditions start to deteriorate again," Murphy says. "If you get another rain event like that, hey, next thing you know we’re into October, we’re into November and hopefully we will start to see some long-term improvement at that point in time.”
Summer is not usually a wet season for Texas. But Lower Colorado River Authority Chief Meteorologist Bob Rose says he’s optimistic the area could see some more rainfall and avoid worsening drought conditions in the very near future.
“I don’t think that we’re necessarily going to see a huge deterioration here over the next few weeks," Rose says. "I think things are going to stay status quo probably for the next week or two and then if we don’t see any rain we will start seeing more deterioration in the drought categories across our area.”
Both experts agree that real recovery will only come with a change in weather pattern that brings consistent rain. Our best hope right now is the return of an El Nino pattern this fall.