‘Exceptional drought’ underway for parts of South Texas

Newest drought monitor places parts of Uvalde, Zavala, Dimmit counties in an ‘exceptional drought’

The latest drought monitor shows parts of the KSAT viewing area in 'exceptional' drought

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

Lack of Rainfall

Rainfall has been hard to come by so far this fall. San Antonio International Airport is now more than 10 inches below average rainfall.

Many other cities around South Texas are in the same situation. Medina Lake continues to fall, as well, with the reservoir down 28 feet from the conservation pool. It is currently 46% full.

Current water levels for Medina Lake (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Drought Across Texas

Other parts of Texas are also dealing with drought. In articular, West Texas continues to be hit hard by lack of rainfall - especially from Lubbock south to the Davis Mountains and Big Bend area.

The latest drought monitor shows many parts of West Texas in 'exceptional' drought (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

About the Authors:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.

Kaiti Blake is a child weather-geek-turned-meteorologist. A member of the KSAT Weather Authority, Kaiti is a co-host of the Whatever the Weather video podcast. After graduating from Texas Tech University, Kaiti worked at WJTV 12 in Jackson, Mississippi and KTAB in Abilene.