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Southwest drought status is mostly nonexistent

Latest available drought monitor maps from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico indicate the region is all but drought free.

Ron Smith 1

June 13, 2017

1 Min Read
Rainfall across the Southwest this spring means almost the entire three-state region is considered drought free.Nick Smith

As Southwest summer’s typically go, this one doesn’t seem to be starting off too typically, at least not compared to many of the recent early summer weather patterns.

Latest available drought monitor maps from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico indicate the region is all but drought free. Texas shows 1 percent of the state rated in drought, with five small areas scattered in Northeast and Central Texas showing only moderate drought. The drought monitor rates a few areas across the state as  abnormally dry, but the vast expanse of Texas remains white—drought free—on the drought monitor map.

Current rating compares to 4 percent in moderate drought last week, 5 percent three months ago and zero percent drought at this time last year, showing a prolonged trend of adequate moisture occasionally interrupted by short dry spells.

Oklahoma is rated drought free in the latest drought monitor map available, with only a few small spots in the Southwest corner, South Central and the Southeast corner considered abnormally dry.

Three counties in southwest New Mexico are considered in moderate drought. Those three are enclosed within a larger area, encompassing about a dozen counties, considered abnormally dry. A small sliver of one county on the Texas State line in Southeast New Mexico is the only other spot considered abnormally dry. Overall, the map shows only 6.5 percent of the state in moderate drought status. Moderate drought is the most severe rating in the three states. New Mexico showed 36 percent rated in drought status at this time last year.

Related:Recovery underway in area hit by wildfire

The Climate Prediction Center expects the El Niño Southern Oscillation to remain neutral through the rest of the year.




About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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