Residents of Comal and Guadalupe counties are facing persistent drought conditions, despite recent rainfall offering temporary relief.

Two-minute impact

While the National Weather Service reports some improvement in drought severity since the beginning of the year, the current heat dome and expected summer dryness pose ongoing challenges, said meteorologist Bob Fogarty.

“We’ve seen like a two category improvement since January,” Fogarty said. “Comal County moved from extreme to mostly abnormally dry, and Guadalupe County saw similar improvements.”

Fogarty mentioned the five categories of drought, as defined by the U.S. Drought Monitor, when discussing the improvements in drought conditions in Comal and Guadalupe counties.
  • Abnormally dry (D0)
  • Moderate drought (D1)
  • Severe drought (D2)
  • Extreme drought (D3)
  • Exceptional drought (D4)

A potential shift to a La Niña pattern by fall could further complicate recovery efforts, Fogarty said, keeping the region on edge as water levels in key reservoirs like Canyon Lake remain critically low.

“Canyon Lake [water levels] is the lowest it's been since they put the dam up,” Fogarty said.

Looking ahead

Fogarty gave insights into the short-term and long-term weather outlook for the region.
  • Next Few Weeks: Above normal precipitation expected through June 25.
  • Summer Outlook: Normal precipitation anticipated through the summer; drought conditions should not worsen if this forecast holds.
  • Seasonal Outlook: Normal precipitation through summer and early fall, but below normal precipitation expected from fall through winter.
However, Fogarty cautioned about the potential long-term impacts, indicating a potential shift to a La Niña pattern by fall.

Historically, La Niña patterns result in drier conditions, Fogarty said, which could persist through the rest of the year and into next year, potentially exacerbating drought concerns.

What else?

Local authorities are closely monitoring conditions, with the Comal County Fire Marshal indicating that burn bans may become necessary if the Keetch-Byram Drought Index rises significantly.

A burn ban is considered when KBDI reaches 500, said Comal County Fire Marshal Kory Klabunde.

Recent rains have kept the KBDI below this threshold, delaying the implementation of a burn ban, Klabunde said.

A burn ban prohibits all outdoor burning, including bonfires, trash fires and campfires, Klabunde said.

It is common to have burn bans during the summer months in the region due to the dry conditions, Klabunde said.