Drought status reaches critical level in parts of Hill Country

(KXAN) — For the first time since Valentine’s Day in 2012, parts of the Texas Hill Country have been categorized in the worst possible drought status: Exceptional Drought.

In its weekly update Thursday, the National Drought Mitigation Center placed western and central Gillespie County in the D4 category, the highest on a D0-D4 dryness scale. Most of the Texas Hill Country is now classified in the Extreme Drought category, and the drought across the remainder of the KXAN viewing area is considered moderate to severe.

While Central Texas is now in its fourth year of drought, rainfall in 2012 and 2013 was enough to keep our area out of the worst drought designation, until now.  Many parts of the Hill Country have seen record low rainfall totals in 2014. Fredericksburg, for example, has received only .80” this year. That is the lowest January-April rainfall recorded there since records began in 1896.

Projections from the Climate Prediction Center indicate the Central Texas drought is likely to persist or intensify through mid-summer.

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