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Despite Rainclouds, Houston Back in Drought Conditions

The drought in Houston is more moderate than much of the state.

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Despite the ominous gray clouds piled up over Houston, the area has been rain-free for about a month, long enough to push the region back into drought.

Mark Svoboda is a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center. He says Houston has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with drought this year.

“We have seen it sort of oscillate here back and forth, and so far in Texas we’ve seen it almost double in the amount of drought area just since the beginning of the year,” he said. “So it has been a rather dry spring. That’s a little bit of a concern as we head into summer and we have to keep in mind drought’s not a total lack of rainfall, it’s just less than what you’re used to getting.”

Svoboda says it’s hard to predict how severe the drought will be this summer, especially for rural areas.

“They don’t have the luxury in the rural areas to just turn on a tap and put water over large areas of range land or pasture land that’s the forage for livestock. And that industry’s just been brutally hit, as everyone is aware of. That’s starting to show up in the grocery store and that’s starting to affect everyone’s pocketbook, as we look at increased dairy prices and meat prices and all that is a reflection and reaction to the drought that’s been a multi-year drought that’s been going on close to four years now,” Svoboda said.

But, he says forecasters are already looking ahead to the fall and winter, when El Nino conditions could develop and bring in a cooler and wetter weather pattern that could stick around and help Texas overcome the past four years of drought.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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