An Assessment of the Meteorological Severity of the 2008-09 Texas Drought through July 2009
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This report characterizes the meteorological severity of the 2008‐09 Texas Drought as of August 1, 2009, putting the present drought into a historical perspective. The report draws upon multiple sources of information, including data and reports from the National Weather Service (NWS) and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the U.S. Drought Monitor, and our own analyses. The present drought is most severe on a 1‐3 month time scale. We find that, compared to historical droughts of the 20th and 21st centuries, the 2008‐09 Texas Drought is probably the most severe drought on record from a precipitation standpoint alone in Bastrop, Caldwell, and Lee counties. When the impact of high temperatures is included, the drought is probably the most severe on record for an additional six counties: Victoria, Bee, San Patricio, Live Oak, Jim Wells, and Duval Counties. The drought of 1956 was of longer duration but its intensity was not as extreme, so it had a somewhat different set of impacts. In neighboring areas of central and south‐central Texas, the intensity of the 2009 drought is greater than that of most but not all of the major historical droughts of the past 110 years, including 1910, 1917, 1918, 1925, 1953, 1955, 1956, and 1971.
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