TEXAS: From Extreme Drought To Severe Flood, Extremes Are A Way Of Life In The Lone Star State

If unfamiliar with Texas but you’ve been following the weather and climate in recent years, you could be forgiven for thinking that the climate of Texas was changing. Becoming more like Florida or even the Amazon after looking and feeling more like Arizona between 2010 and 2013. However, if you delve deeper or understand climate and the past, the turbulent and typically extreme climate of the Lone Star State is explainable and perfectly normal given the cyclical drivers which control the atmosphere.

Drought and flood is a way of life in this typically dry part of the world during 6 months of the year, particularly the further inland you get from the balmy Gulf waters. In 2011, extreme drought incorporated nearly 100% of Texas, this year, there is no part of Texas in severe or extreme drought. Less than 10% are in any category of drought following record rainfall and flooding in both 2015 and 2016, so what happened to the permadrought everyone kept harping on about?






2012 and 2013 was an improving picture.


Then came 2015 and 2016.

Scenes like this have been common. When it rains it pours in Texas where it can be a desert or jungle.

Credit: Texas Monthly

Credit: Texas Monthly





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Equatorial Pacific Holds Key To Texas Climatic Extremes

Essentially the oceans hold the key to our global weather pattern and climate, for Texas it’s the equatorial Pacific which runs the Texas show and depending upon whether there’s a La Nina like we saw in 2011 (start of the multiyear drought) or El Nino, it’s drought or deluge.

La Nina


El Nino


In 2011, Texas had it’s driest year and hottest summer on record followed by the hottest year in 2012, looking and at times feeling more like Arizona. Summer 2011 saw Dallas exceed 100F on 100 days, the most in any year.


No surpass that 2012 was warm even by Texas standards as persistent dry leads to persistent warmth. In Texas summertime is either tolerable or unbearable. Dry can mean hotter but less humid whereas wet means cooler but more humid, take your pick? I experienced the wrath of the summer 1998 heat which was coinciding with severe drought.

Interesting graphic by the TX Observer.

Credit: TX Observer

Credit: TX Observer

The latest dropped 19 inches of rain within a 24 hour period.




NE Harris County, NW of Houston back on Saturday.

As of May 28th, 87.5% of Texas reservoirs are full.


And the upcoming 7 days?


Let me close by saying that flooding in the 1920s almost destroyed the city of Houston while the droughts we’re longer and tougher back in the 1950s.

See today’s video.

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