News Roundup: More Than Half Of The State Is Now Experiencing Drought Conditions

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 27, 2018 1:54 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

More of Texas has slipped into drought.

According to numbers from the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday, 53 percent of the state is now experiencing drought conditions. That’s compared with 49 percent last week.

But the tide could be turning for the Texas Panhandle, which has been hit hardest by dry conditions over the last six months.

“Probably the one of the most important things that happened in Texas over the last week is that we finally saw some rain albeit mostly light, across some of the hardest hit drought areas in the Northern panhandle and neighboring areas,” says Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

He says he doesn’t want to be too optimistic, but more rainfall is forecast for that area over the next couple of weeks.

“And if that does happen and if this continues on through the spring rainy season that gives producers a little bit of hope that we might get a bit of spring growth in areas that are currently just brown,” Rippey says.

If the amount of rains picks up, it could bode well for the summer crop season.

“For crops like cotton and sorghum and irrigated corn that otherwise might not get planted if it were to stay dry all the way through the spring and early summer,” Rippey says.

Rippey adds that the current drought in Texas is most similar to one that started in 1995 and lasted into 1996.

“That year in 1996 we actually started seeing rains moving in in May, and it ended up being a pretty good summer crop season,” Rippey says. “And I think there’s hope in the agricultural community if we can just get these spring rains established and regular that we could actually, even though we have some lingering drought on the map, we might up having a pretty decent summer season.”

Earlier this month, Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for Texas counties experiencing drought conditions.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas is not optimistic about a legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA.

The Obama-era program provides young unauthorized immigrants with temporary protection from deportation. More than 120,000 Texans are DACA recipients.

Despite President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the program by this spring, federal courts have kept DACA in effect temporarily.

Senator Cornyn said Thursday he wants a permanent solution, but does not see that happening in an election year.

“Unfortunately I think DACA fell victim to what happens too often here in Washington, where people don’t really want a solution,” Cornyn said. “They want an issue that they can use in the next election.”

Cornyn is not up for re-election this year. This week a federal court ordered DACA to be kept in effect, saying the Justice Department had not adequately explained why it should be done away with and giving the DOJ 90 days to do so.

A Texas town is holding a race for underachievers everywhere.

Boerne, north of San Antonio, is holding its first annual .5k on May 5. What the organizers are referring to as the “um, Run” begins and ends with a free pint of beer.

The race is already sold out and all the proceeds will go to Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit that helps provide meals to kids on the weekends.