Oh joy.  Another decade of this?  That's what weather experts are saying.  The state climatologist for Texas says the record drought of 2011 could be just the beginning of a long dry spell that could last until 2020 or beyond.

Texas could be in the midst of a drought worse than the history books have ever seen.  That's the opinion of state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. He says this drought could last until 2020, because the region's climate is in the middle of a 20- to 40-year dry phase.

The entire state is in some form of drought, with more than 85 percent in an exceptional drought, the worst form, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

In the past decade, Texas has faced several tough years of drought, resulting in billions of dollars in losses to agriculture.  Five of the past seven years, Nielsen-Gammon said, have been drought years.

He admits however that there's no reliable predictor for long-term drought. Depending on global weather patterns and rising global temperatures, he says it's possible that things could start improving as early as next year.

Whatever. Whether it lasts a few more months or another ten years, Nielsen-Gammon says the state should expect and plan for a generally drier climate. His point, he says, is that we have to be ready for whatever happens.

via Current drought could become worst ever, state climatologist says.

This year's drought has caused an estimated $5.2 billion dollars in agricultural losses through August.  That's on top of the huge economic losses caused by the widespread wildfires.