News Roundup: September Rains Eased Drought In Many Parts Of Texas

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 2, 2018 2:46 pm

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

Perhaps, like rapper and producer, Missy Elliot, you can’t stand the rain.

But all this rain we’ve been getting recently throughout much of Texas is helping to reduce dry conditions here.Jessica Blunden can attest to that. She’s a climatologist with National Centers for Environmental Information, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Last week, there was a lot of rain, a lot of moisture coming in from the Gulf of Mexico that brought several inches to some areas of Texas,” Blunden says. “Previously a lot of the state had been under some kind of dry conditions or some form of drought, and that’s really helping to alleviate the dryness, so we’ve been able to make a lot of improvements.”

Blunden authored the most recent drought monitor report on Texas.

Only about 20 percent of the state is experiencing some level of drought now, compared to almost 48 percent just 3 months ago. And she says more rain is ahead.

“So we’re expecting to see conditions improve across most of the stat,” she says. “There’s a small area in the west that’s kind of missed out on the rainfall around El Paso and a little bit east of there, but hopefully we’ll be seeing more rain in that area too.”

One year ago, less than 5 percent of the state was experiencing drought.

Oil companies say a shortage of pipelines to move their product could lead to a slowdown in the next six months. That’s according to a survey of oil executives the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released Monday.

“A large majority of respondents think pipeline capacity won’t be sufficient until 2019 or later,” says Michael Plante, a senior economist at the Dallas Fed.

Oil and gas production is still growing overall, but the survey suggests it may have grown at a slightly slower pace over the summer.

Two of the largest hospital chains in Texas have announced plans for a merger that would form a huge system, running from Houston to Austin to Dallas. Houston Public Media’s Gail Delaughter reports.

A final decision is expected next year on the proposed merger between Houston’s Memorial Hermann Health System and Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health. The two non-profit systems operate a total of 68 hospital campuses and serve over 30 counties.

Memorial Hermann President and CEO Chuck Stokes says one of the goals of the merger is to make health care more accessible, concerning the state’s large number of uninsured.

“Through this new proposed system we have a unique chance to reinvent healthcare and make a profound difference in the lives of millions of Texans,” Stokes says.

Right now the two systems have about 73,000 employees along with close to 5000 unfilled positions.