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Texas Drought Could Be Worst Ever In 2013

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Texas continues to suffer a serious rainfall deficit and is on track to experience the second-worst drought on record, the state climatologist said Tuesday.  John Nielsen-Gammon told the House and Senate Natural Resources Committees that most of the state is still in extreme drought and the forecast tilts toward drier-than-normal conditions through the spring. For some parts of the state, the current drought may end up being the worst ever recorded.  Texas has only received 68 percent of its normal rainfall, and reservoirs are at their lowest levels since 1990, Nielsen-Gammon said. He said high temperatures due to climate change have exacerbated the drought.  “The state temperature has increased on average by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s, and so that impacts drought through evaporation and loss of water once it reaches the ground,” he said. “While there is greater hurricane activity over the water that tends to suppress ordinary summer thunderstorm activity over land.”  Increased evaporation due to climate change also increases the severity of wildfires, Nielsen-Gammon added.   L’Oreal Stepney, deputy director for water at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, told lawmakers that 1,011 communities have imposed water restriction and 19 water systems have less than 180 days of water, three have less than 45 days and one is trucking in water to meet residents’ needs.

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