The National Drought Mitigation Center has issued its weekly update on the severity of the ongoing drought.
For Texas, there is little change in status from last week, with over 3/4 of the state in some form of drought and over 20 percent experiencing extreme or exceptional drought.
Houston, while not officially labeled as drought-stricken, is still abnormally dry and on the cusp of sinking back into a drought if the weather is drier than normal as we head into spring.
Currently, northwest Harris County, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Austin, Waller, and Colorado counties, along with areas inland, are considered in a moderate drought.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the official climate reporting station for the city of Houston, has received just over 3 inches of rain so far in January. That puts the area right where it should be for the month. However, the vast majority of that rain fell in the first half of the month. In the second half, the areas has only gotten a tenth of an inch.
This is the trend we've been experiencing since last September: We get a short spell of wet weather followed by a long span of very dry weather. The result is an overall rainfall deficit that translates to a slow drift toward drought.
Since September, in fact, Houston is behind by over 11 inches of rain. If the trend continues for much longer, drought will return to the city and areas closer to the coast.
The current forecast, while not calling for extremely dry weather, doesn't indicate a prolonged and steady wetter-than-normal pattern, either. So, the best we may be able to hope for is a continuation of the holding pattern of barely keeping the drought at bay.