"Drought Man" Discovered in Lubbock, Tx; Humans and Wildlife Suffer Through Worst Extended Drought in Texas

"Drought Man" Discovered in Lubbock, Tx

As Texas suffers through an extended heat wave and drought, a Lubbock man tried to provide some levity to the very serious conditions that exist. Albert Angel has dubbed his creation, “Drought Man”. To read more about Drought Man and the trip he has made to reach his destination -- water in a fountain in Mr. Angel's yard, click here and here.

Although this picture and its story will bring a smile to your face, the critical conditions that the heat and the drought have caused paint a dramatically different picture. So, you better smile now, because this is as pretty as it gets.

Seeking Relief from the Drought
Seeking Relief from the Drought | Source
Cow Skull on Post in Texas
Cow Skull on Post in Texas | Source
Fish struggle as water becomes more  and more shallow, fighting for air, and fending off birds looking for an easy meal.
Fish struggle as water becomes more and more shallow, fighting for air, and fending off birds looking for an easy meal. | Source

Humans and Wildlife Suffer Through Worst Extended Drought in Texas

It has been unnaturally hot and extremely dry throughout all of Texas. Man and beast are suffering and there appears to be no relief in sight. In fact it is predicted to get worse.

The National Weather Service in Lubbock reports that it is in the middle of its driest period since six months in 1925, and the drought is expected to get worse! The dry conditions are compounded by high winds and low humidity that are so typical in that part of Texas. Lubbock has not seen any significant rainfall since October 2010, ten and a half months ago!

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the entire state is in drought with about 86 percent in severe-to-exceptional levels of drought. Last year (2010), only about 4 percent of Texas was in drought.

Most counties in the state now have burn bans.
Most counties in the state now have burn bans. | Source
A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire (photo taken on 8/15/11) is evident in Kleberg County Texas. As of early August, more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year.
A burn scar from a recent rangeland wildfire (photo taken on 8/15/11) is evident in Kleberg County Texas. As of early August, more than 3 million acres of rangeland have been lost to wildfires in Texas this year. | Source
Scene In Bastrop TX on September 7, 2011
Scene In Bastrop TX on September 7, 2011 | Source

Drought in Texas Cause Wildfires to Burn With No End in Sight

In July 2011 it was estimated that some 3.4 million acres have burned in 19,000 fires in Texas over the past five months. And with fires still burning, the statistics will continue to rise. It's so dry that the blistering sun, magnified through the end of a broken Coke or beer bottle, can start a fire.

During the first week in September over 1000 homes were consumed by wildfires, 600 in one incident alone just outside of Austin. And in this week, it is documented that there are currently more than 180 fires burning throughout the state.

Almost all counties in the state are under some type of burn ban, and there is no evidence that the bans will be lifted anytime soon.

Months of nonexistent to very little precipitation has caused water levels to substantially drop in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Springs located in the central Texas Hill Country are the only remaining habitat for some populations of small fish, amphibians and other creatures. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are preparing to catch large samples from the springs in the area to relocate to a hatchery in order to prevent their possible extinction. Texas is home to 86 endangered and threatened species.

All over the state fish are dying from lack of water and low oxygen levels in the waters that do exist. Vegetation is dead and dying causing the animals to suffer from lack of food and water.

Plants and animals in Texas have had to adapt to harsh and extreme conditions, but this drought has been testing the limits of what plants, animals, and humans can endure.

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Although this particular picture is of Lake Ray Hubbard in Dallas, it represents many lakes in Texas. This is one of the lakes where Dallas gets its drinking water.




Oakwood Cemetery in Austin would normally be lush and green but not in 2011.





Federal officials are readying plans to evacuate a small number of endangered species in Texas as a severe drought lowers water levels and threatens the survival of rare wildlife in the state's huge ecosystem.


The Blanco River near the city of Blanco in Blanco County, Texas during the big drought of 2011.
The Blanco River near the city of Blanco in Blanco County, Texas during the big drought of 2011. | Source
Many people have lost homes and valuable possessions.
Many people have lost homes and valuable possessions. | Source
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Flames destroy property near Possum Kingdom Lake. Texas National Guard Uh-60 Blackhawk Helicopters were launched out of the Austin Army Aviation Support Facility to help fight the wildfires in North Texas. The aircraft are equipped with a Bambi Bucket, which carries over 600 gallons of water, to fight fires. Photo by SSG Malcolm McClendon.



Even waters along the coast are low and the wildlife suffers, such as these turtles on a log in Elm Lake at Brazos Bend State Park. The recent, ongoing drought, has caused the water level in the lake to be very low. This allows a great deal of slimy moss to grow on the water surface.



This used to be a green pasture where cows could graze. Now, the ranchers walk across the parched dried soil where weeds provide the only color from the grays and browns of baked soil and dead grass at this Culberson County, Texas location.


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South Texas is having the worst drought in 50 years. All of the vegetation is on its knees, begging for it to rain.



Lakes and stock tanks are dried up all over the state. Domestic and wild animals struggle with their thirst as water becomes scarce. Some animals venture in areas like this becoming trapped and die.
Lakes and stock tanks are dried up all over the state. Domestic and wild animals struggle with their thirst as water becomes scarce. Some animals venture in areas like this becoming trapped and die. | Source
A typical but unfortunate sight thoughout much of the state.
A typical but unfortunate sight thoughout much of the state. | Source
A sight so typical to areas of Texas - last year all this vegetation was underwater.
A sight so typical to areas of Texas - last year all this vegetation was underwater. | Source
Even the dirt roads are cracked and dry.
Even the dirt roads are cracked and dry. | Source
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More Suffering for Humans, Wildlife and Plantlife during Extended Drought in Texas

Eight years after the ill-fated flight of the space shuttle Columbia, debris is being discovered as lakes dry up in Texas.



In the Houston area, trees that have lived for hundreds of years are dying. Large branches are falling to the ground and onto houses, and causing much damage and alarm. One woman described a large tree branch hitting the ground as feeling like an earthquake and sounding like “a humongous bomb”.



Temperatures have been soaring all over the state. When I went outside yesterday it felt almost cool, although the temperature was 103°F. But after temperatures over 110° for so long, 103° did almost feel like a cool front. It was still hot, but it was a welcomed relief.



The drought is strangling agriculture all over the state. Crop losses are estimated to exceed $5 billion, and that figure is expected to grow. This year Texas farmers have lost over half of all their cotton crops. The parched fields are bringing back memories of the great dust bowl in 1933.



Ranchers are finding it difficult to feed their herds, and are forced to sell them at a loss before the starving animals die. Beef prices will go up greatly as ranchers will try to build their herds up once the drought passes.



Some cities such as Austin have gotten to the point where they only allow hand watering during the day. The next stage that they will move into is watering only once a week. Also in Austin restaurants, water is to be served to only those who specifically ask for it! As Austinites try to keep their trees alive, the water bills have become as expensive as their already inflated electricity bills.




Coyotes are coming into towns now and taking dogs and cats. Hawks are swooping into yards trying to nab a chicken from their backyard chicken coops. Skunks and raccoons come in looking for food and water.

Dead trees are becoming a common site in Texas, and the stress caused by the drought will kill many trees next year even when the drought ends.
Dead trees are becoming a common site in Texas, and the stress caused by the drought will kill many trees next year even when the drought ends. | Source
Boats normally in water are finding themselves further away from water than this one.
Boats normally in water are finding themselves further away from water than this one. | Source
Only devastation remains after fires that have rampaged across the state.
Only devastation remains after fires that have rampaged across the state. | Source
Ranchers do not have the resources to feed their cattle and are forced to sell them at a loss just to keep them alive.
Ranchers do not have the resources to feed their cattle and are forced to sell them at a loss just to keep them alive. | Source
Wildlife, like this bird, has suffered much at the hands of this drought.
Wildlife, like this bird, has suffered much at the hands of this drought. | Source

Ranchers meet regularly in Fredericksburg to pray for relief from the drought. Many have had to sell much of their stock because they no longer can provide them with food and water.

Ranchers are suffering in the East Texas town of Emory also. Scorching temperatures and a lack of rain have forced many ranchers to sell their stock. Normally, cattle to be sold would be fattened, but the ones that appear for sale are thin, with their ribs showing. Unable to feed them, ranchers are selling 7-10 times more head than they normally would, reducing their herds to virtually nothing. Sadly, East Texas is running out of cows to sell. One rancher stated, “We’ve had that place in our family for 75 years, and it’s never been without water. It’s been without water now since about the 15th of June.” He continued to share that the drought is going to alter the state’s rural economies forever.

That’s a long, long time, and a sad, sad situation.

Texas Farm Bureau Spokesman Gene Hall adds, "I believe there will always be cattle industry in the state of Texas, but restocking those ranches when this ends is going to be a very expensive proposition."

And in the mean time, beef prices will escalate.

Many cities around Texas are faced with something they have never encountered before – the prospect of running out of water. One city outside Dallas recently had its water shut off for two days to fix pipes that had burst because of the shifting (cracking) and hardening soil.

Houston is already tapping into its emergency water supplies. And Lake Conroe just north of Houston, is 19 miles long, and it is drying up. Water levels continue to drop in Lake Conroe as 150 million gallons of water flow out and into Houston homes. Lake Houston, another main water source, is critically low. You can walk half a mile into what used to be Lake Houston and not get wet.

This severe drought falls at the feet of La Nina. Drought in the Southwest and floods in the Midwest and South are the classic signature of La Nina. This year's La Nina is the 6th strongest on record since 1949.

The drought has even had a perverse effect on rabies in the state. Seven months into 2011, the number of rabies is at an all-time high. In 2010, the state reported 387 rabies cases for the whole year. This year already, with 5 months more to go, Texas has had 591 cases of rabies reported. Skunks appear to be the biggest carriers.

The skunks are being force to venture further than usual to find food and water. They are coming into residential areas more than usual. Not being able to find water, their desperation causes them to be aggressive and bite each other, spreading the disease.

Officials recommend that the public should avoid contact with wild animals especially if they are behaving strangely. Pet owners need to make sure that their animals are up to date on all their vaccines. And finally, keep pet food inside, especially overnight, so that the animals are not encouraged to remain in the area.

One of the rehabilitation specialists shared a sentiment that I totally agree with. She said, “I always give rabies a big healthy dose of respect.” Sounds like good advice to me.

Crops have been decimated throughout much of the state, leaving farmers without hope, and many wondering how they will make it to next year.
Crops have been decimated throughout much of the state, leaving farmers without hope, and many wondering how they will make it to next year. | Source
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High winds and dry conditions make it difficult to get the fires under control. In the picture above, a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service King Air lead plane guides a C-130J Hercules from the 146th Airlift Wing during firefighting operations in Scurry County, Texas, April 27. The lead planes guide aircraft to ensure that the fire retardant is dispensed where it is needed.

Real People Sharing Real Feelings about the Drought in Texas

A blog about the drought conditions had the following comments:

  • I have a ranch … and it is terrible for my neighbors who run cattle. The grass is long gone. If we do not get real rain soon there will be no acorns and therefore no feed for game animals this winter. It could get real ugly in a few more months.
  • My heart reaches out to all ranchers and farmers in Texas. I pray for saving rains to drench the earth so that our water supply will be refreshed and grain and food for all men, birds, and animals will grow. Lord, please bless us with your love and gifts from heaven.
  • My heart is sick…and it’s going to get worse. I am down to 15 head and 6 calves … I lost the pasture over 8 weeks ago. I am broke.
  • It has been a hard year on all us ranchers. I raise goats and it pains me to watch them die from the heat and there is nothing I can do…


Lake Travis 2011

If you would like to see a slide show sequence created by the Texas Parks and Wildlife about Lake Travis near Austin in mid 2011, click here.



2011 Texas Drought Affects Most of State

Although there have been many droughts worse than the one we are now facing, none of them have ever come close to affecting as much of the state as this drought as done.

There is much speculations that much of Texas will still be suffering from this drought 12 months from now, making water shortages even more dangerous at that time.

"Best thing is to get some rain," said Jeff Walker, director of project development for the Texas Water Development Board. "That would solve everything." Amen.

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Monotonous Heat and Drought

This is the happy note at the end. The photographer was amused by this picture, stating, " ...we were both amused by the message and by the fact that they used an emoticon smiley instead of a normal smiley."

I sure could use a good rain to wash the dust off of me too!

Growing up in Texas, and its unpredictable weather, I always heard the saying, "If you don't like the weather now, just wait a couple days, it'll change." After all this monotonous heat and drought, it's time for a change.

Unfortunately, I have relatives who farm and ranch all over the state, and they are hurting. Having grown up on a farm, I am all too easily empathizing with them. I don't know what some of them are going to do, and unfortunately neither do they.


All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)


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Comments: ""Drought Man" Discovered in Lubbock, Tx; Humans and Wildlife Suffer Through Worst Extended Drought in Texas" 32 comments

VENZKHVAM profile image

VENZKHVAM 5 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

sad but true


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Yes, VENZKHVAM, it is sad. And I know for a fact that it is also very hot and dry. Most of the plants in my yard are dead. The open ground where our garden was earlier in the spring is so hot and dry that weeds are not even trying to grow! Thanks for stopping by.


lundmusik profile image

lundmusik 5 years ago from Tucson AZ

I hope this changes soon!!... with all those floods around, too bad we can't channel some water to the drought areas... rainfall is way down for us too, (Tucson), but not the desperate situation there....


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

lundmusik - it is bad. But as bad as it is.... When I was looking for pictures to use with this article (this sometimes takes me much longer than it does to write the article), and I'm searching for drought and see pictures of the drought in 3rd world countries ... we do not have anything nearly so bad. When I make the comparisons, we are still so blessed! So I really do not want to appear as if I am complaining, because I definitely am not. It is all God's and He can do with it as He chooses.


Valerie60 profile image

Valerie60 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

I like this creative little character that fits the description of a person or a thing suffering from heat exaustion and flying cocker roaches. The temperatures rising to 108 degrees while looking for a shady spot can be frustration enough to leave town without further notice.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Valerie - Drought Man did catch my attention and was the inspiration for the article. But writing the article made me sad. And it's been 108 degrees way too many days this summer ... it really has been hot! Thanks for stopping by!


amazingchild profile image

amazingchild 5 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Wow. I had no idea things were so bad in Texas. Here in Arizona we're so focused on our own hot summer, they news hardly talks about anything else. So sad!

Someone needs to start a rain dance or something!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

amazingchild - thanks so much for stopping by. Yes it is very hot here. I have some Indian blood and had thought about getting out and dancing!


adeaugustus 5 years ago

I hope the drought end soon, I have never experience it before, But I could imagine, what it looks like, because i have been to norther Nigeria, where it is extremely hot, it's not an easy, thing. Great work you've done in compiling everything together to form a wonderful hub. Thanks for sharing.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

adeaugustus - thanks for stopping by. It is bad, but some of the pictures I have seen of other countries make me cry. We are not that bad yet. And I pray that we will not be. Thank you, and I with you hope it ends soon.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

WOW this is so crazy, you've really brought this to light - I can't believe the extent of the drought. You've done an awesome job in presenting this hub and I'm voting WAY UP.

Good job.

Cloverleaf.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

cloverleaf - It really is amazing. Just a few hundred miles away they are suffering with floods. And we are parched. Thanks for stopping by.


jodiejay71 profile image

jodiejay71 5 years ago

I live on Lake Conroe and with the evaporation and the 150 million gallons per day heading to Lake Houston we are, along with the state of Texas, in dire need of

rain. Keep praying!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

jodiejay71 - I thought about you when I wrote about Conroe. Also, you can probably guess, it was your email that originally inspired this hub. Thank you for stopping by.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

Eeww - You were right, I did stop smiling after the first photograph. How horrible and how sad. I have family that lives north of Dallas and when we visit I am always amazed at the sea of houses, it is beyond suburban sprawl. It seems that long ago no limits were put into place to manage the number of people as compared to available water supplies, add a drought to the mix and it easily creates a disaster. This is really pretty sad and all the photos really highlight the extent of this problem.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

ktrapp - I have lived north of Dallas since 1980. I keep moving further and further out to get away from all the congestion. My next move will be greater because the houses just keep getting closer and closer. It really has been hot and dry here. Thanks for stopping by.


Ddraigcoch profile image

Ddraigcoch 5 years ago from UK

Homesteadbound. As someone who lives in the UK, and who complain when we have a bit of snow, rain or heat, I find it devastating to see what some of my fellow humans have to endure.

This article is so well researched and brings something extremely important right across the pond.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Ddraigcoch - Thank you for your kind words. We would gladly accept some of the rain and snow from across the pond. We are starting to get some cooler weather but no rain. And It is supposed to be an unusually warm winter too. Thank you for stopping by.


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

We are sitting in 29 degree heat here in Cambridge and yet just 200 miles north in Scotland it's 13 degrees and raining? (which is normal for us too at this time of year) All temp. records have been broken today since records began.

It is affecting the crops and I dare say it will affect prices of food going forward. When I was in South Africa I noticed that the seasons were changing in terms of their onset. Winter came a month later and then spring summer etc and this has all happened in the last ten years; a really short timescale? Thanks for a very thoughtful and thought provoking hub. PS We really do need to sort this out, if we can?


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Are your temps in Celsius or Fahrenheit? We are in the 80's F her today. It is really nice today. We have the windows and doors open. But we could sure use some rain. As far as sorting it out, what ideas do you have? I have some Indian blood and thought about doing a rain dance! Thanks for stopping by.


funmontrealgirl profile image

funmontrealgirl 5 years ago from Montreal

I had no idea it was so extensive. Very well laid out there.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

funmontrealgirl - It can be kind of scary. For me the scariest part is the fires. It is so dry and when the wind blows they just keep burning. It's hard to imagine a fire lasting months and months. Thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed it.


hanwillingham profile image

hanwillingham 5 years ago

Very interesting.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

hanwillingham - interesting and sad all at the same time. I continue to update this hub as I com across new information so check back for the latest.


hanwillingham profile image

hanwillingham 5 years ago

Thanks homesteadbound!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

You are so very welcome! Until next time ...


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

I hope it rains soon.... in little bits and not flooding...


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

We had a day of nice slow rain this last week, but we could easily soak up 40 days and 40 nights worth! And that would help put out some of the fires. And as always, Thanks for stopping by.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

So very interesting and shows what anamazing writer you are.

I vote up and look forward to so many more.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

Eddy - Thanks so much for coming by and sharing some of Texas with me. It is winter now and not so hot, although unseasonably warm. We have gotten a little bit of ran this last month, but not nearly enough. I'm hoping the drought doesn't last as long as they say, but much permanent damage has been done, especially to the trees - many are expected to die.


Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

You have done such an awesome job in explaining just how scary droughts can be. I hope the drought has gone away now. Awesome hub, voted up and across (but not funny).


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

It still persists in areas of Texas, but most of Texas is still pretty dry, and so hot! It's September and still in the 100's.

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