According to Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, our current Texas drought now ranks as the third worst in state history. 1951-1956 still ranks as the drought of record for Texas. The second worst drought in state history began in 1917 and lasted through 1918. The only reason those droughts are considered worse than our current drought, is because both of them were multi-year droughts, while we're still in the first year of this drought. Multi-year droughts can have a much more devastating impact on the water supply. Of course, we were in drought in 2009, and if it hadn't been for a wet first half of 2010, we'd be in far worse shape, today. The most recent Drought Monitor, dated June 7, 2011 shows that 85% of Texas is in either extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories.
What’s causing it? It’s actually very simple. It’s the drought. We are experiencing our hottest spring on record because Texas has just experienced its driest spring on record. When there is soil moisture, and greener vegetation, heat is absorbed through the evaporation process. When there is none, the heat is simply reflected. And, when there is no soil moisture, there less atmospheric moisture for potential rain development. It’s a vicious cycle–a feedback loop.
The average number of 100° days in Austin is 11.
May 2011: 3 days
June 2011: 5 days so far
Here’s hoping we don’t see a repeat of 2009, where we saw 68 days of triple-digit weather. We came within one day of tying the all time record (69 in 1925).