News Roundup: New Data Shows Over Half Of The State Is Now Experiencing Drought
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Texas is getting drier and drier, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday. As of this week, 55 percent of the state is in drought.
“And if you look at dryness that isn’t necessarily drought but is catching our eye – it’s over three quarters of the state, 83 percent, and these numbers have been increasing for a few weeks now,” says Rich Tinker, a drought expert with the Climate Prediction Center in Washington, D.C. He says drought conditions have been intensifying in a swath of the state that reaches from Southwest Texas up into the Northeast.
“Earlier in the year we had exceptional drought covering parts of the Texas Panhandle and southward, and some serious drought into the Big Bend area – those areas have been getting better and so has deep South Texas which now is out of drought,” Tinker says. “But we’ve seen some pretty rapidly deteriorating conditions in the Northeast quarter of Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Tinker adds it’s too soon to tell whether heavy rains that fell in parts of the state this week will make a lasting dent in the ongoing dry conditions.
“The rains that fell, obviously are gonna help. I mean, let’s face it – if you’re in a drought every drop of rain you’d rather it falls than not fall. But it’s going to take some time to assess how much improvement this situation has caused, and it’s also worth noting that three days after an event like this, it seems much less impressive than it actually is when it happens.”
One year ago, only 6 percent of Texas was experiencing drought.
President Donald Trump is expected to name his nominee for a new Supreme Court Justice on Monday. A new poll finds Texas voters are split on whether they want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 case that established a right to an abortion. KUT’s Ashley Lopez has more:
According to a poll conducted for NARAL Pro-Choice by Public Policy Polling – 47 percent of Texas voters don’t want to see the landmark abortion ruling overturned. And 50 percent of those surveyed say they are less likely to support their senator if he voted to confirm a candidate that would overturn Roe. NARAL conducted that survey in states with contested Senate seats this year – and that includes Texas where Congressman Beto O’Rourke is challenging Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.
Some major funding is headed to Texas for flood projects. Governor Greg Abbott’s office announced Thursday that the US Army Corps of Engineers will give Texas $5 billion dollars, and as Houston Public Media’s Laurie Johnson reports, the bulk of the money is reserved for Galveston.
“Nearly $4 billion has been awarded for the start of a so-called coastal spine from Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay. That’s a project that has been discussed since Hurricane Ike devastated the island 10 years ago. Now there’s federal funding for at least part of it. The Army Corps is also providing money to study other flood projects, including a comprehensive assessment of Houston’s watersheds.”