Dry, drier, driest: Drought conditions are returning to Central Texas, and one expert thinks it could be this autumn before the region gets enough rain to reverse the trend.
That has officials at the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) making sure people throughout the region know what condition our water supply is in. The authority has launched a "Drought Update" page that shows a graphical representation of the drought situation.
"We've also got a map showing the entire state of Texas, but you can zoom in, so you can see how bad the drought is in specific areas," said LCRA spokesperson Clara Tuma.
Austin hasn't had any significant rainfall since last September, when Tropical Storm Hermine rolled through, according to Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose. As the region enters what should be the wettest part of the year, Rose said March is shaping up to be one of the driest on record for Austin.
"We've been feeling the influence of a moderate-to-strong La Niña through the fall and winter months. And fortunately, the La Niña is weakening at this time," Rose said. "But the atmosphere is still behaving as if we're still under the influence of that moderate-to-strong La Niña. And I don't think we're going to lose that influence until maybe sometime this summer."
At the moment, the LCRA's water supply for Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are at 76 percent of normal. But there is a better than average chance that the supply will sink below the 70 percent level in the next six months. That would force the authority to look at agricultural water restrictions, if the low water persists through the rest of the year.