Scientists and climatologists say the drought that has plagued Texas and the southwest United States may extend for another year. That’s because there is a 50/50 chance the La Nina conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean will return this fall. Texas state climatologist and Texas A&M University professor John Nielson-Gammon says – I’ve started telling anyone who’s interested that it’s likely much of Texas will still be in severe drought this time next summer, with water supply implications even worse than those we are now experiencing.
Water supplies in Texas are now stressed to the point mandatory water restrictions are in place for many communities. Some municipalities have even stopped selling water, which was the only available source of water for some livestock owners who were hauling water to their animals. As of August, the state’s reservoirs were at 68 percent of capacity. About 70 percent of Texas rangeland is classified as very poor condition.
La Nina winters in Texas typically have mild temperatures and drier-than-normal weather. Nielson-Gammon says at least parts of Texas are likely to experience a continuing drought that will stretch on for two or more years. La Nina is a phenomenon of a cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean and typically results in less rain for southern states. The strong La Nina of 2010-2011 is believed to have caused this summer’s devastating drought.