One of the questions I get asked most lately is "where are we on the drought"? For the first time in a long time, we have a surplus when it comes to rainfall, thanks to a series of downpours the past few months. We've seen over 4" each month at Bush airport, Houston's official record site. Each Thursday, the National Weather Service puts out a map showing the status of drought in each Texas county. Drought is measured on a scale that goes from dry to moderate to severe to extreme to exceptional. Here's where we stood in late January:
There were still many counties west of Houston in the dark red coloring denoting exceptional drought. Look what's happened as of last week's drought monitor thanks to over 5" this month:
All the red has turned to brown as the drought status drops to moderate and severe. From Liberty county toward the Golden Triangle, the drought classification is down to "dry", the lowest level of drought. It really means that conditions are nearly normal. A good part of Eastern Harris county is also classified as being in this lowest level as well, but the rest of the county is still considered to be in a moderate drought.
We ended 2011 with a 25" deficit and so far in 2012, we've chopped that down to 17". It's a step in the right direction, and it could mean a great wildflower season. On the down side, it's already triggered pollen season and mosquitoes are popping up everywhere.