The impact of La Niña on weather and climate is being played out in Texas, where hot temperatures and low rainfall have combined to create some of the worst droughts in the state’s history. Historically, during La Niña years the Southern U.S. receives lower than normal precipitation. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center recently announced that La Niña has resumed in the Pacific, and as a result, the dry conditions in Texas are not expected to improve over the next few months.
Drought often manifests in poor vegetation health, and such changes can be detected by satellites. NOAA is able to approximate drought intensity by creating vegetation health indices based on moisture. In this animation, the evolution of the drought in Texas and the other Plains states is shown from January – September 2011. Areas with abnormally dry to exceptionally dry conditions are illustrated as orange colored areas.