AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The state climatologist for Texas says the record drought of 2011 could be only the beginning of a dry spell that could last until 2020.
State climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon tells the Austin American-Statesman says water planning is often based on standards set by the previous record drought of the 1950s, which lasted nearly 10 years. Nielsen-Gammon, who also is a Texas A&M professor of atmospheric sciences, says the present drought could be significantly longer-lasting than what has been planned for.
He says that, "sooner or later, there will be a drought that's worse" than the previous standard-setter.
Forecasters predict dry weather to last long-term beyond the next decade from the La Nina phenomenon returning in 2012 to cool the surface waters of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.