According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, in 2011 Texas experienced its worst drought in recorded history. Also, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, in July of 2011 the “percent of contiguous U.S. land area experiencing exceptional drought in July reached the highest levels in the history of the U.S.” People and businesses were affected in many ways. Farmers and ranchers lost crops, livestock, and money. Many thousands of homeowners in Texas experienced foundation damage to their homes.
When the clay soils lose large amounts of moisture due to dry, hot weather they shrink in volume. The clay soils shrink dramatically during droughts and “pull away” from the bottom of a concrete slab foundation. When this happens they lose contact with the slab foundation and there is nothing supporting parts of the foundation and home. The slab foundation will then crack and “fall” until it reaches something to support it – the shrunken clay soils (settlement – see glossary). This will result in damage to exterior brick and framing as well as interior sheetrock, floors, doors, and windows.
In July, August, and September of 2011 the drought conditions were present within the entire state of Texas. One official stated that 3/4 of the state was in the “exceptional” (worst) category of drought. Other nearby states were also affected by the drought, but not to the extent of Texas. Some of the other states that were at least 85 percent abnormally dry were:
- New Mexico (100 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 48 percent exceptional)
- Louisiana (100 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 33 percent exceptional)
- Oklahoma (100 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 52 percent exceptional)
- South Carolina (97 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 16 percent extreme to exceptional)
- Georgia (95 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 68 percent extreme to exceptional)
- Arkansas (96 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 6 percent extreme to exceptional)
- Florida (89 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 20 percent extreme to exceptional)
We have included some images from the U.S. Drought Monitor web site to give you a quick “picture” of the drought and its growth or progression in Texas. Below the images you will find some links to the web site should you wish to learn more about the historic 2011 drought.
* all images from the U.S. Drought Monitor
The main web site for U. S. Drought Monitor