Dry conditions, drought persist across Texas

Michael Hutchins, Herald Democrat

Drought and “abnormally dry” conditions continued to spread across the state of Texas over the past week, despite some relief from rain and snow, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report.

“The area of moderate or worse drought is up two percentage points, now covering 37 percent of the state,” TWDB hydrologist Mark Wentzel said in the report. “The area of severe drought grew by five percentage points, now covering 11 percent of the state.”

Despite some snowfall, which stretched from El Paso to Houston and from Austin to Corpus Christi, Wentzel said the impact from precipitation would be minimal. Wentzel said it typically takes between 10 and 20 inches of snow to equal just one inch of rain.

“It was fun while it lasted but didn’t do much to improve drought conditions,” he said.

Locally, the majority of the Texoma region remains in a state of severe drought, with the only holdout being the southern edge of Collin County. The local drought is a part of a larger band of dry conditions that extends from Montague County east to Bowie County and then to the southwest as far as Bell County.

The recent dry spell has been ongoing since September, following the wettest August on record for Grayson County. During the full month of September, a weather station in Sherman received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain. While conditions improved in October, with more than three inches of rain for the month, it still was below the area’s average.

So far, the month of December has continued this trend of dry conditions with only 0.28 inches recorded at North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field. Likewise, a co-op weather station in Sherman has only recorded 0.06 inches for the month.

Matt Bishop, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Fort Worth Forecast Office, said the dry conditions are expected to continue for at least the next week, with little chance for rainfall. Late Monday night, a cold front is expected to pass through the region, but will not bring any moisture with it.

In the long range outlook, meteorologists are predicting a chance for rain and possible snow on Christmas Eve, but Bishop said he felt it was too soon to be certain as conditions could change over the next few weeks.