COLLEGE STATION, Texas, July 3 (UPI) -- At least half of Texas is locked in a severe drought that shows no signs of breaking in the near future, the state climatologist says.
John Nielsen-Gammon, a meteorology professor at Texas A&M, said that the western, central and southern parts of the state are the hardest hit. Some areas have had less than one-quarter of normal rainfall.
"Texas had a very wet spring and summer last year, but then the rain just shut down," he said. "The past nine months have been among the driest such periods on record."
In South Texas, if National Weather Service predictions prove accurate, this year could be the driest since the state began keeping records in 1895. In the south-central area, the drought could be equal to the worst so far in 1917 and 1971.
Texas farmers are likely in for a bad summer, Nielsen-Gammon said. The summer is the time of highest water use, and farmers are going into it with the ground bone-dry after what should have been the wettest period of the year.