After weeks of intense summer heat and not a lot of rain coming with it, areas in and around Houston are experiencing differing degrees of a drought.
The city of Katy is currently in moderate stage 2 drought conditions. They have asked residents not to water their landscape, wash cars, or drain and refill pools. In Galveston County they have put a burn ban in affect. Scott Tafuri is with the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management and joined Houston Matters on Tuesday.
He said conditions are “really dry” in Galveston right now, and the burn ban was to ensure that accidental fires are not set, as they could easily spread. He said one thing residents should do is clean any shrubs or leaves from the yard, and watering vegetation late at night or early in the morning.
“Also be mindful of not parking on grass,” Tafuri said. “The exhaust from your vehicle will catch that grass on fire, especially with how dry it’s been. … It’s the perfect fuel for it to catch on fire and spread rapidly.”
The ban is for unincorporated parts of the county. But for other areas in cities, Tafuri said to check with their city fire marshal or city halls to see if there are burning conditions.
Space City Weather’s Eric Berger said this is not the worst drought the city has seen. In 2011, he said, every day in August, except one, was 100 degrees.
“And September was absolutely miserable as well,” he said. “We had in the six months leading up to that summer, the city averaged seven inches of rain, so we were already very dry.”
He said this year the city started out drought-free, and is now seeing drought conditions.
“It’s certainly worsening as dry conditions continue to get worse,” he said.
The Sahara Dust isn’t helping, he said.
“It’s inhibiting storm formation while the high pressure system is off to our west,” he said. “…If you get hit by rain, it comes down to luck more than anything else.”