SAN ANTONIO – A lack of rainfall in 2020 has allowed drought conditions to worsen in South Texas, culminating this week.
The latest Drought Monitor, which was released on Thursday and takes into account drought conditions through November 10th, has placed parts of Uvalde, Zavala, and Dimmit counties within an “exceptional drought," the highest drought level.
“Extreme drought,” the next step down, stretched from Castroville in Median County all the way to Eagle Pass and Maverick County. A good portion of Bexar County - as well as place like Bandera and Del Rio - now fall within the “severe” range.
Generally speaking, areas east of I-35 are in the best shape, as far as drought is concerned. In fact, places like Beeville and Karnes City are only considered “abnormally dry,” which is the lowest drought level.
What is Exceptional Drought?
So, what does it mean to be within the “exceptional drought” category? According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, here are some common examples:
- Exceptional and widespread crop loss is reported; rangeland is dead; producers are not planting fields
- Culling continues; producers wean calves early and liquidate herds due to importation of hay and water expenses
- Extreme sensitivity to fire danger; firework restrictions are implemented
- Widespread tree mortality is reported; most wildlife species' health and population are suffering
- Devastating algae blooms occur; water quality is very poor
- Exceptional water shortages are noted across surface water sources; water table is declining
- Boat ramps are closed; obstacles are exposed in water bodies; water levels are at or near historic lows