Brazos Valley drought report

2023 Summer Drought Update for Brazos Valley Foundations

Unless you’ve been sleeping for the past 2 months, you know it’s super hot and super dry in most parts of Central Texas, specifically in the Bryan-College Station and Brazos Valley areas. Just how bad is this drought? Will it start to affect my home’s foundation??

I can tell you’re worried. You’re spinning in anxiety and angst about the drought and your foundation. Well, how about a drought update and some words of wisdom for dealing with the drought to keep your foundation safe?

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

Many foundation repair companies out there (as well as the news media) try to freak you out with dire warnings about drought. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we prefer to take the non-alarmist, check-the-drought-records approach to things for some needed perspective to put your mind at ease.

This article will discuss the current drought conditions compared to recent years and more significant times of drought further in the past. We will also address common homeowner questions regarding drought, settlement prevention, and foundation problems.

How Serious Is the Texas Drought?

Even though it literally feels like you opened the oven door on your face when you step outside, it’s just an anecdotal feeling that *the drought is bad* until you look at the maps.

I like these maps from the U.S. Drought Monitor website. You can select your state and look up current and archival information.

So how do current conditions compare to the last couple of years? Let’s see, there was the Summer of 2021, which was bizarrely wet for a Texas summer. And then there’s last summer, 2022, which was quite a bit worse than this year but turned out okay in the end. Here are all three of them lined up together:

When you see these maps, the worst map from 2022 was worse than it is right now in 2023.

2021, 2022, 2023 drought map comparison Texas

Yes, the air temperatures are probably a lot hotter at the moment, but the general drought conditions are not overly unusual compared to last year. Other areas of the state have been getting rainfall at times. That contributes to the overall soil system conditions even though it doesn’t feel like it from an observational perspective.

2011 Drought Map Texas

A notable historical comparison for you is a little farther back in time. From 2010 to 2012, Texas experienced some of the most *exceptional drought* on record with much of the state engulfed in the deepest drought levels. Here’s a map from September 2011 with a whole lot of dark red on it and an interesting accompanying article about the 2011 drought too.

Check out this long view of drought conditions for some more perspective from 2000 to the current year. You can clearly see 2011 right there in the middle. Yikes!

2000 to 2023 Drought Chart Texas

Here’s an even more interesting one from 1895 to the present. You can see a major drought between 1915 and 1920, one in the 50s, and also the one that happened around 2011. See . . . right now is not that bad and you can also see the patterns of wet and dry years very clearly being quite regular.

1895 to 2023 drought map Texas

The takeaway here is that, yes it’s hot, yes it’s dry, and you hear people throwing around the word drought like the sky is falling. But honestly, it looks to me like we are in the *to be expected* range of things for a late summer in a drier Texas year. Dryness is a reality of living in our Great State. Rain will come soon and everything will change. 

It’s the circle of life, people . . .

Will the Texas Drought Affect My Foundation?

worried about your foundation and drought

Now, just because dryness and drought are a way of life in Texas, doesn’t mean there is no impact on your home’s foundation – there certainly can be at times. Any summer drought presents an opportunity for foundation settlement. Drought makes settlement more likely, but it’s not a guarantee for annual disaster either so don’t panic.

Any time the expansive clay soil in our area dries out, it shrinks. Prolonged soil shrinkage due to drought can cause distress to your foundation. Sometimes this extended stress will make your foundation sink but this sort of thing takes years and years to happen, not just one.

Even though we can somewhat predict that droughts will happen just about every year at some point, we can’t predict when foundation settlement will happen to your home. What we can do instead is encourage you to be proactive through drought monitoring and home maintenance.

Signs to Look for Around Your Foundation During Drought

You now know how to check for general drought conditions using internet info, but how do you watch for drought conditions right around your home? Good question.

In your home’s immediate area, there are some clear signs of drought that you can pick up with your own eyeballs:

Chicken in a drought
  1. Cracks in the ground around your home or yard, and
  2. Separation and pulling away of soil or mulch around your foundation.

These two signs signify that the dirt is getting quite dry right around your home and it’s probably past time to step up the moisture levels in the area. 

Also, you can regularly monitor for early signs of foundation settlement or distress inside and on the exterior of your home, like diagonal cracks in drywall or stair-step cracks in the brick. But let’s hope it hasn’t gotten to that point yet and just deal with the dry dirt.

Foundation Maintenance and Prevention During Drought

We were just talking about monitoring in the last section, so here are some maintenance do’s and don’ts to maintain your foundation’s health as much as possible in an attempt to head off foundation problems

  1. Do water your lawn and landscaping (and trees!) to keep them alive,
  2. Don’t “water your foundation” – it’s kind of a misleading myth,
  3. Do encourage moisture retention with mulching,
  4. Don’t expect miracles because sometimes preventions don’t work no matter what, and
  5. Do wait until a drought is over to decide if foundation repairs are necessary.

If you want more elaboration on those 5 items up there, check out this article for more details: Do I Need to Protect My Foundation from Texas Summer Drought?

water lawn to help your foundation

The main thing to do right now is keep things alive around your home by normal watering and adding mulch if you can. If the drought continues and gets worse, it could help a little. But sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do to prevent foundation settlement if the state’s entire soil system is “in the red.” 

Your little hose and a sad bag of mulch in the immediate area around your home can do very little against a massive force of nature that ends up affecting the whole state.

Wait Until the Drought Is Over to Decide on Foundation Repairs

Now you have some historical perspective on the summer drought and how you can help your foundation get through it. Make sure you have been in your home long enough before deciding on foundation repairs. If you haven’t been in your home for an entire year, wait and see what happens next year. 

We also suggest that you wait until the drought is over to decide for sure if you have a real issue. Once rainfall increases, your home might experience seasonal rebounding and be just fine.

waiting for foundation repair

As much as we would love to get your business, we don’t fix homes that don’t need fixin’ and we don’t try to sell you stuff that you don’t need. After 35+ years in business with Anchor Foundation Repair, that’s what’s best for our Brazos Valley community and for exceptional homeowners like you. We’re here to help guide you through your foundation problems, not take advantage of your fears.

Here’s an article that will help you know when the time is right for foundation repairs, it’s how we do it anyway . . . 

All maps obtained from either or websites. Thank you for the info!