The dry, dusty landscape that dominated Texas for much of 2011 has quickly disappeared thanks to a surge in moisture that has now painted the scenery in a burst of green. Satellite images from AccuWeather.com show just how much of a difference seven months and more than a foot of rain can make, primarily in the eastern part of the state:
The lush, green that covers much of eastern Texas demonstrates that there is hope for recovery after the devastating drought, wild fires and dust storms that dominated the last half of 2011. Agricultural losses in the Lone Star State reached a staggering $7.62 billion.
No one can remember a worse drought occurring in one year, according to Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist and a member of the Governor’s Drought Preparedness Council. Read more.
“Texas farmers and ranchers are not strangers to drought,” Miller said. But the intensity of the drought, reflected in record high temperatures, record low precipitation, unprecedented winds coupled with duration -- all came together to devastate production agriculture.”
Now, the tables have turned for east Texas, where areas received more rain in the first 90 days of 2012 than they saw during most of 2011. On March 22, the Weather Channel reported that Austin, Tx, recorded nearly 16 inches of rain since Jan. 1, which is less than inch below the city’s rainfall totals for 2011.
In October 2011, 88 percent of the state was considered in exceptional drought. The USDA’s latest Drought Monitor indicated that now just 13 percent of the state, primarily in the western part of the state, is in exceptional drought. However, 83 percent of the state remains under one stage of drought or another.
While the beneficial rain brought drought relief to the Lone Star state, it also brought flood warnings and tornadoes. Last week a tornado outbreak impacted areas of north Texas, where damage claims could top $500 million according to WFAA-TV.
Talk to us: Do you think rain will continue to relieve drought conditions in Texas and the southern Plains, or will summer return with sizzling temperatures and little precipitation?