For the first time since April, 2010, no part of Texas is considered in drought. And little of the state is currently considered abnormally dry. A sliver of yellow in the northwest Panhandle and a small yellow section in Central Texas, depicting abnormally dry status, are the only remaining areas close to drought.
The report follows four years of devastating drought across most of the state and the Southwest, including record-setting drought in 2011.
The latest report also shows significant improvement since April. Three months ago, 35 percent of the state was considered in moderate to exceptional drought. A year ago, that figure was more than 60 percent. Rainfall that began across much of the region back in March has persisted through the spring and early summer months, building up soil moisture profiles and reversing that four-year trend.
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Rainfall, including some deadly storms packing high winds and bringing hail and flooding, delayed planting across much of the state and caused crop and property damage, is seen as an overall positive by most in agriculture as pasture and rangelands begin to recover and some reservoirs, including large lakes and stock tanks begin to fill. “But remember this,” the latest report said, “the monitor favors soil conditions; reservoirs are still low in West, Far West and South Texas.”
The seasonal outlook also looks good for most of the Southwest, with Oklahoma, Texas and most of New Mexico continuing to show white, drought-free status, through October.
Drought removal is considered likely in Far West New Mexico with only a small area projected to continue in drought status but “improving.” A similar situation exists in Arizona.
Farther west, including all of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and large segments of Idaho, Montana, and Utah, conditions are expected to remain dry or worsen well into fall.
Nationwide, most states continue to show drought-free status into fall with only a few small areas in the Southeast projected to remain in drought.