By Kenneth Dierschke
I read recently that climatologists are predicting a 70 percent chance for El Niño to develop this year in the Pacific Ocean. I hope they are wrong. What we need is a 100 percent chance.
El Niño is the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Oceans. It alters the jet stream flow across the United States and helps bring wetter-than-normal weather to Texas.
Farmers and ranchers have been praying for a major weather-maker for many years. Despite a recent wet spell that has greened up the country considerably, most of Texas is still suffering from the same drought that we’ve been battling since the last El Niño episode in 2009-2010. Texas agriculture has lost billions of dollars because of the dry weather. We need a drought-buster to fill soil profiles and replenish the aquifers used for irrigation.
Sadly, it’s not just agriculture that is affected. Municipal water supplies for many Texas cities and towns are literally drying up. Currently, the state’s surface reservoirs stand at only 64 percent full. The Highland Lakes reservoirs in Central Texas are only a third full. The situation is dire in some parts of Texas. Wichita Falls, for example, is weeks away from running out of water.
Without water, growth stops, industry flees, and Texas residents lose homes and jobs.
Luckily, voters had the foresight last year to vote for Proposition 6, which will address the long-term water needs of the state. However, until that funding is directed to the most critical projects on the drawing board, Texas needs some short-term relief.
We can look toward the Gulf of Mexico for a hurricane or tropical storm, but climatologists say chances are not good for storms to develop. And nobody wants the destruction that those storms could bring.
Better we have an event like El Niño. Although it doesn’t guarantee abundant rainfall, it looks like the best shot we have.
Promising signs point toward a wet fall. All Texans have a stake in this. Let’s join together and pray El Niño pays us a visit.