"Grim Predictions Say 9 More Years Of Texas Drought Possible"

"A devastating Texas drought that has browned city lawns and caused more than $5 billion in damages to the state's farmers and ranchers could continue for another nine years, a state forecaster said on Thursday."

"'It is possible that we could be looking at another of these multiyear droughts like we saw in the 1950s, and like the tree rings have shown that the state has experienced over the last several centuries,' State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon told Reuters.

Some 95 percent of the state is listed as being in either 'severe' or 'exceptional' drought by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Drought Monitor, and Nielson-Gammon said the last 12 months have been the driest one-year period on record in the Lone Star State.

The state's worst recorded drought lasted from 1950 through 1957 and prompted the creation of artificial lakes all across Texas to supply water to a state that at the time had a population of 15 million - a whopping 10 million fewer than today.

The long-term weather patterns, including La Nina currents in the oceans, mirror records from the early 1950s, Nielsen-Gammon said. The current drought, which he said began in earnest in 2005, could wind up being a 15-year stretch if patterns hold, he said."

Jim Forsyth reports for Reuters September 30, 2011.

Friday, September 30, 2011