Johnson City Record Courier
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A Good Rain, But Not a Drought-Breaker
Thursday, October 13, 2011 • Posted October 13, 2011

We had a good rain in Blanco County last weekend — even a great rain considering the summer we just went through — but it wasn’t a drought-breaker.

The climate experts are saying that even with occasional rains, our drought is likely to continue right through next summer, and perhaps through the rest of the decade, or even longer!

That will be part of the message on Saturday from John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist, who will lead off a series of speakers on "Living with Drought" in Blanco County.

"Five of the past seven years have been drought years," Nielsen-Gammon explained. "Future droughts may continue to be one or two years long, or we might experience another drought lasting several years or longer, such as the 1950s drought..."

The drought of the ’50s is the one Elmer Kelton immortalized as "The Time It Never Rained".

"The 1950s drought occurred in the midst of a similar long-term...pattern," Nielsen-Gammon pointed out.

He has good confidence the drought will last well into next year, but only gives it a 1-in-4 chance of lasting five years, and even slimmer odds of making it to 2020. But he does say it could, and even if it breaks, he foresees more drought years than wet or normal years in our near future.

Some wells — even cities — already are running dry.

Gardens needed lots of water last summer, yet many plants still dried up.

Our trees turned brown early this year; even cedar are dying of thirst.

Many ranchers have sold off their cattle, and deer face starvation this winter.

So what can we do about it?

Nine experts will tell you what problems we are likely to face before the drought is over, and will give you some ideas for dealing with the effects...some cheap and easy, some painful and unpleasant.

Nielsen-Gammon will lead off the free series at 8 am Saturday in the Activity Building of the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City. Other topics will include:

8:30 Water supply

9:00 Landscaping

9:30 Gardens

10:00 Trees

10:30 Wildlife

11:00 Pets and livestock

11:30 Personal health

12:00 Wildfire

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