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Texas drought continues, but rain might be on the way to the Houston area

Compared to 2011, 2022 is not too bad, but both of the years have something in common: They are La Niña years.

HOUSTON — As the hot, dry days pile on, the drought is getting worse in Texas. The latest drought monitor, which was released on Thursday, shows it.

Here's a look at why things are looking so bad right now.

Drought monitor

Compared to last week's drought monitor, the maroon color has expanded. That shows that the exceptional drought has worsened, as have extreme and severe drought conditions across the state — shown in red and orange.

In the Houston area, and East/Southeast Texas in general, the conditions held close to steady since last week.

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Compared to 2011, it's not too bad, but both of the years have something in common: They are La Niña years. That means that the sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Tropical Pacific are running about half a degree cooler or more compared to the average.

Why does that affect us?

If you're wondering why those conditions, as far away as they are, impact the drought conditions, you'd be asking a good question. It's because of something known as teleconnections.

It helps explain why the stormy conditions in Indonesia are directly tied to something that’s happening all the way across the world in the equatorial region where we find the Trade Winds that blow from east to west.

In a normal year, they push warm water towards the Western Pacific. But in a La Niña year, they’re intensified -- pushing much more of that warm water towards Asia which fuels the storms.

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However, the opposite effect happens downstream in the Gulf of Alaska -- we instead get a big blocking pattern. This trend repeats itself causing cooler, more stormy conditions in Canada and the Pacific Northwest and then another big blocking pattern down south, which has led to our drought.

What's next?

So what can we expect if La Niña continues through the summer and through fall? Conditions could certainly worsen. In October 2011, we were all in the red -- exceptional drought conditions.

RELATED: Houston forecast: Much needed rain is in the forecast!

There might be an end in sight, though. The forecast in the Houston area calls for rain over the weekend and into next week.

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