Another week brings another Drought Monitor report that shows a continuing deterioration of drought conditions across Texas.
Extreme and exceptional drought status ratings, in particular, continue to expand with almost all of the Texas Panhandle in one of those categories and only a small portion at the Southwest corner in severe drought status.
The Drought Monitor map shows Extreme drought conditions extending well into the Texas Rolling Plains with a swath of exceptional drought still lingering in the Vernon area and into southwest Oklahoma.
A large patch of Central Texas also shows the bright red of extreme drought. A few dry spots are beginning to creep into Northeast Texas with severe drought along the Red River and south near the Dallas area. Much of that area, however, remains in abnormally dry to moderate drought ranges. A few areas are considered drought-free. Far West Texas also shows several large areas with no drought indicated and the rest rated as abnormally dry. South Texas also shows mostly drought-free and moderate drought status.
Overall, 69 percent of the state is currently rated in moderate to exceptional drou8ght, up from 66 percent last week and 46 percent three months ago. Last year, 92 percent of the state was rated in moderate to exceptional drought.
Also of concern is reservoir storage levels, 1.4 percentage points lower than last year and 20 points lower than normal for this time of year. “Current values remain the lowest recorded for this time of year for data going back to 1990.