Just when it looked like weather conditions couldn’t get any worse in Texas, a new wildfire burning outside of Austin destroyed nearly 800 homes in the past few days. This came on the heels of the state’s hottest and driest summer in recorded history, with many parts of the state smashing all-time records by wide margins. Yesterday, Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon announced this was the hottest summer on record for Texas — and the hottest summer ever for any U.S. state, based on preliminary numbers — and last month he declared Texas is in the midst of its worst one-year drought on record. The blend of hot weather and parched land has made for perfect fire conditions, and this has been the worst year for Texas wildfires in over a decade. Nearly 3.6 million acres of the “Lone Star State” have burned so far this year, an area roughly the size of Connecticut.
“The year 2011 continues the recent trend of being much warmer than the historical precipitation-temperature relationship would indicate, although with no previous points so dry it’s hard to say exactly what history would say about a summer such as this one. Except that this summer is way beyond the previous envelope of summer temperature and precipitation,” Nielson-Gammon wrote.
In Texas, the summer of 2011 has been both the hottest and driest on record. The drought has cost billions in economic losses, mainly due to agricultural impacts and from wildfires. Credit: John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist.
2011 is unlike any other summer ever in Texas. Hotter and drier by a lot than any other year. Glad i no longer live there.