Betsy Blaney is a reporter after my own heart. The theme is Texas drought. The story has numbers:
The first 11 months of 2006 rank as the 31st driest January-through-November stretch since 1895. Average rainfall for that period was 23 inches, down from the normal of 26.02 inches, the National Weather Service said.
Compounding the lack of rainfall is a statewide average temperature of 68.9 degrees, the second warmest January through November on record.
“You put those together and it’s not good,” National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy said.
In contrast to drought stories I’ve complained about in the past, this one has data, and the data is consistent with actual drought, as opposed to farmers’ and ranchers’ perception of drought. But it’s also pretty clear that, in a warming world, if Texas farmers and ranchers can’t cope with what’s essentially a one-in-three dry year, there’s trouble ahead. That temperature trend isn’t going anywhere.