A Decade-Long Drought? Yeah, Maybe So, State Climatologist Says.

Categories: Weather

prayforrain.jpg
Photo by Brandon Thibodeaux
It's all but official now. We've strung together the 12 driest months in Texas history. State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon estimates we got 13.69 inches for the year. The average is 27.

It's been hell on ranchers, as we reported in this week's cover story. And it may get worse. Texas A&M put out this release last week, citing Nielsen-Gammon's hypothesis that this could be a decade-long drought event. We caught up with him today, before he was scheduled to discuss the Texas drought with climate scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Fort Worth.

So, why a decade?

Apparently, a cooling pattern in the Pacific and a warming trend in the Atlantic are synced up. "The Atlantic is unusually warm, and that combination leads to dry conditions across the central U.S.," Nielsen-Gammon tells Unfair Park. "We are at risk at this point and will be until things change, which isn't very predictable but probably won't be for another decade."

In the last 110 years, the weather patterns have lined up twice. The first time was during the drought of record in the 50s and early 60s. They lined up again around 2000. We've had drought in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, though none as deep and widespread as this year's.

Translated: Don't count on significant rain anytime soon. Hurricane season is just about over. A tropical storm could meander in during October, but that's almost impossible to predict with any certainty. Otherwise, La Niña has reemerged, portending another dry fall and spring.

And a silver lining? Statistically, a record-smashing sequel to this year is pretty unlikely. Hey, we take what we can get.

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20 comments
Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

To many folks want to have Lush Lawns .

I am not sure where such Lush Lawns exist in a natural state . Or if they do .

But I don't think our part of north east Texas is part of what ever that area is .

Harvey
Harvey

What if this is the new normal?  It could very well become the new normal weather pattern for Texas.

I'm right now in conversations about how to recycled paper trash into an alternative to sawdust and rice hulls for composting toilets in developing nations.  But if this weather pattern does become the new normal then we are also talking about north Texas instead of Haiti or West Africa.

For the perwerts in internetville the rice hulls and sawdust is used in a simple composting toilet to cover your done business.  There is no odor.  It doesn't use two gallons of water to carry three ounces of your done business away either.  And, this is a big and, AND your done business along with the rice hulls or sawdust becomes humus in a short period of time, great stuff humus, especially if you're into eating vegetables or stuff that grew into stuff eating vegetables.

Here's my problem with the paper trash, inks.  We need to find a way to neutralize the toxicity of the inks in our paper trash.  If we can do that then we can process our paper trash into a substitute for the rice hulls and sawdust currently used in simple composting toilets in developing nations.

Imagine a landfill with no plastic or paper trash in it.  I have. 

Jay
Jay

We're saved. Nothing changes the weather pattern faster that a climatologist promising more of the same.

Harvey
Harvey

Water rationing should be forced at this point. We'll be doing it soon enough...best to stretch out our reserves as long as possible.  

Robert
Robert

The cow sign is in Windthorst.

The giant cowgirl (a real person) works or lives closer to the Barnett Shale than the Eagle Ford Shale and that's all I'm saying about that.

This Brantley feller and the Brentney gal will tell you how the cow ate the cabbage I tell you what.

HobokenGary
HobokenGary

What? Prayer didn't work?  Shocking.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Now that we finally have citywide beer and wine, maybe we'll just have more lushes who won't care about their lawns.

Fletch
Fletch

Darn it...beat me to it.

Fletch
Fletch

The photo above was taken in Windthorst, Texas.  It's a small dairy farming community in eastern Archer County.  This sign is at the corner of FM 174 and US 281. 

SelfStorage.com Dallas
SelfStorage.com Dallas

Prayer would not have worked even if it had rained.

That being said, the practice of praying for rain has been in vogue much longer than the practice of meteorology. 

Joejoethedogfaceboy
Joejoethedogfaceboy

You betcha! I swear I've mentioned ol' Tom to friends about every other day since I found out he used 1.3 mil gals in June. I still can't believe he used 100x more water that month than my family of 4...

harvey
harvey

It wasn't at the deer lease because.......

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