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Drought unlikely in next few months for most of the state of Texas, expert predicts

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

There’s good news and bad news about this summer’s drought conditions.

The good news: most of the state of Texas is not expected to experience drought conditions similar to last year. The bad news: the part of the state that needs to recover from drought will likely be impacted again as the temperature warms up.

Brian Fuchs is a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. The group released its drought forecast for the next three months.

"What the climate prediction center does is they start with the current drought monitor map and they kind of project forward," Fuchs said. "In this case we have one for the month of April and then we have a three month one that takes us out to the end of June."

According to the report, most of central and east Texas will see an above average amount of rainfall. The problem area is in west Texas from New Mexico.

"The feature that really stands out to me is much of west Texas where we see more of that drought (in New Mexico) start to expand eastward to cover more of West Texas more of the Panhandle," Fuchs said.

The Panhandle is an area that has been especially susceptible to wildfires. The Smokehouse Creek fire started in April and eventually consumed over one million acres. Fuchs says the conditions that made that possible will likely keep the threat of wildfires high especially if the temperature spikes similar to last year.

"It is just primed and dry because of the lack of moisture through the winter months. Your fire danger, especially wildfires can just go through the roof until things green up," Fuchs said. "I think it's going to be something that we really need to pay attention to as far as that fire danger going forward."

While Texans in the Panhandle and out west are likely in for another drought, the rest of the state is seeing a surplus of rain.

"The other thing to bring up is we have been under an El Niño situation in the Pacific," Fuchs said. "As we are transitioning into the summer months it looks like we are going to start seeing a rapid change to a La Niña situation which means that instead of the water being warmer out in the Pacific, the waters are going to start becoming cooler and it changes the weather patterns here in the United States in another way."

The emergence of a possible La Niña effect could increase the likelihood of higher-than-normal temperatures along with dry conditions.

Copyright 2024 Houston Public Media News 88.7. To see more, visit Houston Public Media News 88.7.

Robert Salinas