Drought intensifies throughout Texas, water board says

Michael Hutchins Herald Democrat

Drought and dry conditions continued to spread across the state amid as Texas approaches one of the driest seasons of the year, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report. This week’s update found that 15 percent of the state is currently in a drought.

“Drought continues to intensify and expand rapidly across the state,” TWDB Hydrologist Mark Wentzel said in the report. “Drought now covers 15 percent of the state, including 1 percent of the state impacted by severe drought.”

“Nearly a third of the state is abnormally dry and in danger of slipping into drought in the next few weeks,” Wentzel continued.

Locally, the entirety of the Texas side of Texoma remains either in a state of moderate drought or is experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions. A wave of moderate drought extends through the southern portions of Fannin County and into the northeast corner of Collin County. Meanwhile, a small band of moderate drought extends along the southern border of Cooke County.

For the second week in a row, all of Grayson County remains “abnormally dry.” Up until last week, Grayson County was the one area in the region that was spared from drought and dry conditions.

As winter approaches, the TWDB is predicting that La Niña weather patterns will likely lead to a drier and warmer winter season. The weather pattern is triggered by changes and variations in the surface water temperature in the Pacific. Wentzel said these patterns could contribute to an expansion and intensification of the ongoing dry spell.

The recent dry conditions started in September when portions of Grayson County received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain for the month. This followed the wettest August on record, with a weather station in Sherman recording more than 13 inches of rain.

So far for the month of November, a weather co-op station in Sherman has recorded 0.05 inches of rain, Patricia Sanchez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Fort Worth office said. Sanchez noted that the records from the weather station are missing reports from two days, but other weather stations in the region reported no rainfall on those days.

Sanchez said the region is expected to remain dry at least through the next week, with chances for rainfall expected to remain at or under 10 percent.