On one fateful day in 1949, the state experienced what would be the start to the the worst drought in Texas' history.

By 1951, nearly all of Texas was covered by this devastating weather effect. To put this into perspective, 1950 saw just over 90% of normal statewide precipitation, but by 1951 that number dipped below 75%. This percentage tanked in 1956 when Texas experienced a whopping 55% of normal precipitation... across the entire state.

Economic damages

The number of farms and ranches in Texas were severely cut down from 345,000 to about 247,000.

It's estimated that the total cost of damages between 1950 and 1957 fell around tens of billions of dollars.

When it rains, it pours

The Lone Star State finally saw a reprieve when a massive storm passed over the state bringing rain and other severe weather events in its wake.

Known as "The Day of the Big Cloud" by many during this time, Texans saw 10 inches of rain in much of the state within just a few hours. This rain was unyielding, coming down nonstop for 32 consecutive days.

This heavy rainfall also brought hail, tornadoes and a death toll of at least 22 while forcing thousands more from their homes and farmlands.

Setting precedent

This drought from 1950 to 1957 rocked the foundations of modern (at that time) water development systems so much that it is known as the "drought-of-record" for most of Texas. This just means that efforts to mitigate further disasters were based upon this one event from then on.

The Texas Water Development Board was soon created to serve the state on preparedness and assistance in times of drought crises.

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Stacker compiled a list of counties with the worst droughts in Texas using data from U.S. Drought Monitor.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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