Texas state climatologist John Nielson-Gammon tells The Lookout that he fears the drought–which has already cost more than $5 billion in damage–may be similar to the one that struck the state in the 1950s. The weather patterns at the source of this drought are likely to continue, Nielson-Gammon said–namely the “La Niña” weather pattern in the Pacific. The drought cycle began in earnest in 2005–though 2007 and 2010 were wet years–and may stick around until 2020. Ninety-five percent of the state is experiencing severe or exceptional drought.
“Many residents remember the drought of the 1950s, and tree ring records show that drought conditions occasionally last for a decade or even longer. I’m concerned because the same ocean conditions that seem to have contributed to the 1950s drought have been back for several years now and may last another five to 15 years,” he said in a statement.