Texas becomes nation’s focus for intensifying drought

The National Weather Service reported San Antonio was behind on rainfall by more than six inches while communities around Austin faced a more than seven-inch deficit.

A lack of rainfall across the Lone Star State has propelled some communities into severe drought levels, with no short-term relief in sight.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, more than 88% of the state was experiencing either dry or drought conditions. Communities along Interstate 35 are in the worst shape, with extreme to exceptional drought conditions reported.

The drought is not as extensive as conditions experienced during August 2022, but the lack of soil moisture is leading to increased brush fire risks and impacts on agriculture.

U.S. Drought Map.
(FOX Weather)


According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, fires are burning hundreds of acres daily, and nearly 200 counties are under a burn ban.

The National Weather Service reported San Antonio is facing a rainfall deficit of more than six inches, while communities around Austin are in the hole by more than seven inches.



Intensifying drought leading to water restrictions

Several communities around the Lone Star State have heightened water restrictions to help manage supplies.

Many utility providers rely on a four-stage status that dictates when commercial and residential use is restricted.

The city of Austin said it has reached a stage 2 water status, and Katy officials said they’ve upped their status to a stage 3.

"For many years, Austin has leaned into water conservation in normal weather as well as drought," Shay Ralls Roalson, Austin’s water director, said in a statement. "As our current drought continues, we know that the entire Austin community will respond to the need to conserve our most precious resource. We’re all in this together, and there is no substitute for water."

The restrictions impact many water uses, from car washing to lawn watering and evening dining out.


Any drought relief in sight?

According to the FOX Forecast Center, there are mixed signals on whether there is any drought relief in sight.

The National Hurricane Center expects to track a tropical disturbance through the Gulf of Mexico next week, but how much moisture makes it onto land remains a question.

Expected Rainfall.
(FOX Weather)


Computer models such as the Global Forecast System (GFS) show minimal rainfall, with many communities receiving less than an inch of rain through the next ten days, while the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) depicts a rainier solution with rainfall amounts of between 1-4".

The forecast will come into better focus once a tropical disturbance forms in the Gulf of Mexico, which is expected to be early next week.

U.S. Drought Map
(FOX Weather)