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August saw primarily hot and dry conditions throughout much of Texas. North Central Texas and the eastern part of the Trans-Pecos region were the “winners” in terms of rainfall, receiving above normal accumulations, though parts of central Texas managed to see around normal accumulations. Everywhere else, however, saw well below average rainfall, which, when combined with the above average temperatures, caused drought conditions to worsen significantly. As a result, the biggest impacts seen during August were related to water supply and heat. New water restrictions have been implemented in Amarillo, Abilene, and Corpus Christi as a result of diminishing water supply. Regions across the state are proposing new ways of combating their steadily declining water supplies, such as the Lower Colorado River Authority’s plan to build a new reservoir on 4300 acres of land, or Abilene, Midland, and San Angelo’s plan to pool water resources in the future, or Twin Buttes’s new water pumping system, designed to reduce evaporative surface area and sustain already low water levels in O. H. Ivie Reservoir at a current total running cost of $230,000.

Drought conditions are taking their toll on an already susceptible population of farmers and ranchers. The cost of hay and the burnout of grasslands have lead to herd culling among many ranchers, with some selling their herds off entirely. High heat and a lack of rainfall has caused a near total loss of many crops out west, including sunflowers, soybeans, and corn, with more resilient crops like cotton also expected to have very low yields by harvest. Long-term drought impacts have some farmers wondering if it’s better to simply sell their land to developers.

Storms in North Central Texas lead to high water levels and flash flooding in Dallas and Waco, resulting in destroyed property, one fatality due to being swept into flood waters, and as many as 30000 people went without power overnight as a result. The Panhandle also saw storms cause damage in Amarillo, where as many as 2500 people lost power due to heavy rainfall and flooding. Heat-related illnesses have been particularly concerning this month for outdo workers, and various reports have shown illegal immigrants and the homeless are experiencing widespread heat exhaustion and some fatalities as well. The Public Utility Commission of Texas has been advising people to monitor their use of electrical equipment in order to limit their energy demand during the particularly hot summer.
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