With a lack of substantial rainfall in 2014, the Brazos Valley is once again finding itself slipping into a drought. As the area draws closer to the typical hot and dry summer months, the writing is on the wall for another potentially devastating season.
Brazos River runs dry during Texas drought, Summer 2011
As of May 5th, 2014, Bryan / College Station is officially behind nearly 7.50" of rain -- compared to the seasonal average of 12.44". In other words, both cities, and much of the Brazos Valley, have yet to pick up half of what is considered normal rainfall by this time in the year.
Other parts of Texas are hurting for much needed moisture as well. The latest drought monitor has about 75% of the state in some form of drought. 90% of Texas is at minimum considered to be "abnormally dry."
Lubbock, Texas has yet to cross the one inch mark for rainfall in 2014.
Brazos Valley crops are out of the ground and growing, but not to their full potential. Wheat is taking a hit from this lack of rainfall, as farmers are worried the grain will not fully develop. That said, it is a waiting game -- the full potential of what the crop will produce this year won't be known until it is time to harvest.
Area lakes are thriving, but starting to show signs of strain as well. Lake Somerville is down about 2.5 feet from normal. The lack of rainfall can hurt lake levels -- but if lakes in the chain to the south cannot sustain decent levels, more water will have to be released from Somerville to compensate, as well.
Many fear that we are on pace to seeing another summer like that of 2011. While rainfall and temperatures are in slightly better shape than that of three years ago, the Brazos Valley is steadily slipping deeper and deeper into drought. Substantial, timely rain would be helpful -- but the outlook for a wetter than normal pattern is not anticipated until Fall, when El Nino is expected to strengthen in the Pacific Ocean.
Attached above are links to Bryan / College Station climate information, the official Texas Drought Monitor, and other information about the health of area crops across Texas in 2014.
Latest Texas Drought Monitor