It was not long ago that the state was dealing with a searing drought. In 2011, the drought was so pronounced that the governor then, Rick Perry, proclaimed three days in April “days of prayer for rain in Texas.” Parts of the state began to see the drought ease by 2012, but much of it has remained parched.
Now, Texans are more likely to be asking for divine intervention to provide a little sunshine. Reservoirs that had reached historically low levels are brimming, or at least rising fast. The water level at Lake Travis near Austin rose nearly 24 feet in the last week. It was just 34.2 percent full a year ago; today it is 65.5 percent full. Across the state, reservoirs have collected about eight million acre feet of water, rising to 82 percent full from 73 percent full in a month, according to the Texas Water Development Board.
Texans are no strangers to extreme weather, said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate change researcher at Texas Tech University and an author of the 2014 United States National Climate Assessment. “It’s famous for floods and drought, hurricanes and tornadoes, dust storms and ice storms,” she said. “Climate change is not causing these events — they’ve always happened naturally. But climate change is exacerbating these events.”