Counties with the worst droughts in Texas

Written by:
March 14, 2024
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Counties with the worst droughts in Texas

More than one-fifth of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Winter storms brought heavy (in some areas, record-setting) rainfall and flooding to California, offering the state an expected two-year reprieve from widespread droughts, that covered nearly 100% of the state from 2020-22. But in other parts of the country, especially dry conditions continue. New Mexico currently is the state with the highest drought level, covering ​​88.2% of the state's area.

In periods of drought, levels of major reservoirs and rivers can fall dramatically. Groundwater systems are also affected as shrinking water supplies impact agriculture and hydropower generation while increasing wildfire risk.

Periods of drought have intensified and become more frequent in recent years due to climate change. Scientists predict that even in low-emissions scenarios, much of the U.S. will be drier by the end of the century.

Stacker cited data from the U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in Texas with the worst droughts in the week leading up to March 5, 2024. Counties are listed in order of percent of the area in drought conditions. "Abnormally dry" is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point. Additional data for the state overall is also included. Any counties which are not experiencing drought are not included in the list. Counties are listed in order of drought severity.

Texas statistics

- Abnormally dry: 21.4%
- Area in drought: 22.7% (#15 nationally)
--- Moderate drought: 13.7%
--- Severe drought: 7.0%
--- Extreme drought: 2.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Edwards County

- Abnormally dry: 8.9%
- Area in drought: 91.1%
--- Moderate drought: 91.1%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Crane County

- Abnormally dry: 7.9%
- Area in drought: 92.1%
--- Moderate drought: 92.1%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Llano County

- Abnormally dry: 6.9%
- Area in drought: 93.1%
--- Moderate drought: 93.1%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Bailey County

- Abnormally dry: 5.6%
- Area in drought: 93.5%
--- Moderate drought: 93.5%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Midland County

- Abnormally dry: 3.1%
- Area in drought: 96.9%
--- Moderate drought: 96.9%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Val Verde County

- Abnormally dry: 1.2%
- Area in drought: 98.8%
--- Moderate drought: 98.8%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Kerr County

- Abnormally dry: 0.5%
- Area in drought: 99.5%
--- Moderate drought: 9.0%
--- Severe drought: 52.3%
--- Extreme drought: 38.2%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Winkler County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ward County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Kinney County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ector County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Loving County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 99.8%
--- Severe drought: 0.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Burnet County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 98.2%
--- Severe drought: 1.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Real County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 80.4%
--- Severe drought: 19.6%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Reeves County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 76.7%
--- Severe drought: 23.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Comal County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 62.8%
--- Severe drought: 37.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Culberson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 97.2%
--- Extreme drought: 2.9%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Presidio County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 2.1%
--- Severe drought: 87.2%
--- Extreme drought: 10.6%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Hudspeth County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 83.3%
--- Extreme drought: 16.7%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Jeff Davis County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 10.2%
--- Severe drought: 59.2%
--- Extreme drought: 30.6%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Gillespie County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 17.4%
--- Severe drought: 44.5%
--- Extreme drought: 38.1%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Blanco County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 10.1%
--- Severe drought: 46.6%
--- Extreme drought: 43.3%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

El Paso County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 33.5%
--- Extreme drought: 66.5%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Bandera County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 33.4%
--- Extreme drought: 66.6%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Kendall County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 17.8%
--- Extreme drought: 82.2%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

This story features data reporting and writing by Emma Rubin and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 29 states.

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