HOUSTON, Texas  (KIAH) – Meteorologist Carrigan Chauvin was live this morning at the rodeo to speak with competition participants about how they combat dry winter seasons in Texas. Victoria Hill, a FFA student officer, explains the reasoning behind supplemental feeding for her cattle.

For the first time since 2012-2013 over 50% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico is experiencing drought conditions. Nearly 90% of the state of Texas is seeing drought conditions prevail right now. This includes D-1 through D-4 drought, D-4 being the most extreme. Harris county is in D0, meaning we are abnormally dry, but in Fort Bend County nearly 60% of the land is in a D1 (moderate) drought.  

Impacts from drought include supplemental feeding for livestock, postponed planting, early cattle sales, and increased fire threat. Financial burden is also a result of drought in the U.S. as farmers and cattle owners have decreased yields. Extra money must be spent on top of that to buy supplemental feeding supplies, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars for even small ranch owners.

Is there relief in sight? 

Our latest outlook shows drought conditions persisting for most of the western U.S. There is not expected to be enough rain or snowfall to alleviate these dry conditions in the short term. Drought conditions are expected to develop in southeast Texas and out along the east coast.