After heavy rains throughout the month of December and in early 2012, much of Deep East Texas have seen an improvement in the ongoing drought.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows that areas from Henderson to Carthage to Nacogdoches and down towards Livingston have seen the drought stage go from extreme to severe. This is an improvement of one category, going from a stage three to a stage two. At the same time, areas in Cherokee, Rusk, Jasper, and Newton counties have been upgraded from a stage four exceptional drought to a stage three extreme drought.
The only area that is still in the worse possible drought category (stage four, exceptional drought) is in western Houston county and western Trinity county.
This improvement in the drought has not just been confined to East Texas, but for the entire Lone Star State. Just three months ago, 73% of the state was in a stage four exceptional drought. At the present time, that percentage has been reduced to 25%. The stage three extreme drought has been reduced from 92% to 63% in the same three month time period and the stage two severe drought has been trimmed from near 100% to just under 63%.
While the improvement has been nice to see, we still have a long ways to go before we can catch up on several years worth of rainfall and erase the deficit.
In the meantime, the recent downpours have led to every county being burn ban free, ponds filling up with water, and water restrictions being lifted.
Let's hope that Mother Nature offers East Texas more beneficial rainfall in the months to come. Otherwise, the drought could worsen and more problems would rear their ugly head once again.
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