By MIKE ANDERSON | Brazos River Authority
Anyone who has kept an eye on the drought as it has come and gone and returned again in recent years might feel a little like baseball legend Yogi Berra, when he described something as “déjà vu all over again.”
In 2009, the central and lower Brazos River basin withered under the most severe level of drought, with some areas being 20 inches or more below normal annual rainfall. That September, a tropical system brought 15-20 inches of rain to those parched areas, and additional rains over the winter moved the entire state out of drought. Then in the fall of 2010, drought returned and lasted for most of 2011. That drought went on to be known as the worst one-year drought recorded in Texas. A wet start to 2012 brought temporary relief to portions of the Brazos River basin, but that wet start was followed by below normal rain in the spring and fall leading into this past winter. While some areas in the upper basin never fully recovered from previous drought, the Brazos basin is again experiencing very dry and possibly worsening conditions.
After being pushed back and forth by these climatic changes, people are no doubt scratching their heads, wondering what to expect next from the weather. Unfortunately, the cautious optimism some climate experts expressed about the weather early this year is fading and yet another year of drought appears more and more likely.
As summer begins, the entire Brazos River basin is experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Parts of the central and upper basin are under the most severe rating of drought conditions. While some locations received periodic and sometimes heavy rains in the late winter and into the early spring, it was not enough to significantly improve conditions in those areas that needed it most. Over the last six months dating back to October 1, 2012, the entire Brazos basin is well behind normal rainfall totals with most areas 6 to 16 inches below normal.