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Drought Third Worst in Texas History

June 7, 2011

May marks the end of the driest eight-month period on record.

COLLEGE STATION — Is this the worst Texas drought ever?

The answer is no, but it certainly is one of the worst, according to Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University professor and Texas state climatologist.

“Based on Palmer Drought Severity Index values, this is the third-worst drought Texas has ever seen in the month of May,” Nielsen-Gammon writes in his blog, the Climate Abyss. “Records go back to 1895. May also marks the end of the driest eight-month period on record.


The worst droughts remain those in 1918 and 1956, according to Nielsen-Gammon


According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 50 percent of the state remained in what is termed an "exceptional" drought, which means a once in 50-year occurrence. More than 90 percent of the state was experiencing either a severe or exceptional drought. Only parts of north central and northeast Texas were not at least abnormally dry as of May 31.


It may not be the worst drought ever, but lifelong farmers throughout the state are telling Texas AgriLife Extension Service agents this is the driest they’ve ever experienced.

Lubbock County. “Blowing dust from gusting winds occurred on several days. Irrigation continues where feasible. May ended with 0.26 inches of moisture recorded, making this year the driest five-month period on record for Lubbock.”

And while a few weeks ago, rains may have greened things up in East Texas, the region remains in a drought, according to AgriLife Extension agent reports.


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