From deluge to drought: Texas endures severe drought after Harvey
"Since Harvey, we have had 90 days of below-normal rainfall and average monthly temperatures have been 5 degrees above normal," according to Nikki Hathaway, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Houston.
The main threat from the drought at this point is wildfires: "Fire is the primary potential impact, and wet followed by dry is the standard recipe for lots of dry fuels," said John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist.
And while it’s too soon for any water supply impacts, summer reservoir inflows in the Hill Country were third-lowest on record, according to Bob Rose of the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Dozens of people were killed and damage estimates from the storm were at least $100 billion, likely more.
This includes the entire Houston metro area, much of which was underwater in late August due to Hurricane Harvey.
Houston had its 4th-driest November on record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.
It’s not only Texas.
A dry November also increased drought conditions in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, said Oklahoma’s state climatologist, Gary McManus.
(Photo: U.S. Drought Monitor) The cause of the weather pattern shift can be traced to La Niña, a periodic cooling of ocean water in the Pacific Ocean that affects weather patterns across the U.S. and around the world.
The Climate Prediction Center said that drought is expected to persist or intensify across the nation’s entire southern tier through the winter, all the way from California to South Carolina.