Nearly one-third of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Parts of the West are currently experiencing a brief reprieve from its driest period of the last 1,200 years, but conditions are worsening in the Northwest and Southwest.
In periods of drought, levels of major reservoirs and rivers can fall dramatically. Groundwater systems too feel the effects, and shrinking water supplies impact agriculture, hydropower generation, and wildfire risk.
Periods of drought have intensified and become more frequent in recent years due to climate change. Scientists predict that even in low emissions scenarios, much of the U.S. will be drier by the end of the century.
Stacker cited data from U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in Texas with the worst droughts in the week leading up to August 21, 2023. Counties are listed in order of percent of the area in drought conditions. Abnormally dry is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point. Additional data for the state overall is included. Any counties which are not experiencing drought are not included in the slideshow. Counties are listed in order of drought severity, but the list does not necessarily include every county in Texas which is experiencing drought.