The vast majority of Texas has remained drought free through what has proved to be a wet August, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report. The report found that 2 percent, up from 1 percent last week, of the state of Texas remains in a state of drought but officials said this is likely to change following Hurricane Harvey in South Texas.
“Last week’s drought map shows a new patch of drought in Bastrop, Fayette, and Gonzales counties,” Robert Mace, TWDB deputy executive water science and conservation administrator, said in the report. “These counties, and much of the rest of South Texas, received 10-plus inches of rainfall this past weekend as Hurricane Harvey arrived. Expect major changes in this week’s drought map.”
Even without the presence of Hurricane Harvey, this August has proved to be the wettest on record. The National Weather Service recorded 13.49 inches of rain at a weather co-op station near Sherman. The previous record for that site occurred more than a century ago when it received 12.39 inches in August 1915.
NWS Meteorologist Jason Godwin attributed the wet summer to instabilities in a high-pressure ridge that typically remains over the region and keeps it dry throughout the summer months. Throughout the past summer, this ridge has been weaker than normal and has been more westward than normal. This has allowed moisture and disturbances to move south, resulting in strong storms in the region.
Godwin said he is uncertain in the long term if these trends will continue, noting that current climate maps say there is a slight chance for a wetter-than-normal September. In the immediate future, Godwin said forecasts call for only minor chances of rain for the next week. The highest chance for rain will come next Tuesday, when the chances rise to about 30 percent, he said.
“For the moment, over the next several days, things should calm down up there,” he said.