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.
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.