Droughts are a part of the climate, just like hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Unlike the other hazards that affect the state, droughts can impact large areas and last for months, or even years. A drought is defined as the lack of soil moisture over a period of time. This lack of moisture can be due to reduced precipitation, increased evaporation and/or transpiration, or higher temperatures. It can also be caused by a combination of all of these causes.

You can learn more about the history and current drought conditions in Texas by visiting the National Drought Monitor or the National Integrated Drought Information System.

Did You Know?

Numerous droughts stand out for having a significant impact in Texas due to the area affected and the duration of the droughts; including the statewide drought of the 1950s, which remains the most severe drought the state has ever experienced based on recorded measurements of precipitation. Other significant droughts in Texas occurred in the late 1800s and the 1910s, 1930s, 1960s, and 2012. During these droughts, lack of rainfall caused streamflows along some of the major river systems across the state to be the lowest on record, causing water resource shortages and loss of crops. Examine the precipitation chart on Slide 18 to see if you can find these droughts reflected in the data.