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Drought status should improve into winter

Drought status is improveing across the southwest
<p>Drought status is improveing across the southwest.</p>
Pockets of persistent drought remain, according to the latest U.S Drought Monitor reports.

Almost 23 percent of Oklahoma is now drought free. Slightly more than 30 percent of Texas is considered out of drought, and areas considered in exceptional drought continue to decrease across both states.

But pockets of persistent drought remain, according to the latest U.S Drought Monitor reports. The driest locations are the southwest corner of Oklahoma and the adjoining area in Texas just south and west of the state line.

In eastern Oklahoma, an area about three counties wide and extending from the Kansas line to Texas shows white on the latest drought map, indicating no drought. The rest of the state shows in increasingly darker hues, from yellow (abnormally dry) in East Central Oklahoma, giving way to a sliver of pale orange (moderate drought) to the west and then most of the state farther west is considered in a darker orange (severe) category with a few pockets of red (extreme) and two dark brown (exceptional drought) spots at the eastern edge of the Oklahoma Panhandle and at the southwest border with Texas. Overall, almost 78 percent of the state is considered in drought status from abnormally dry to Exceptional, with almost 21 percent rated in the most severe categories. Almost 65 percent is considered in moderate to exceptional drought.

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A year ago, nearly 42 percent of Oklahoma was considered drought free.

In Texas, only 11 percent of the state remains in the most severe categories, and 48 percent is considered in moderate to exceptional drought. A large swath of East Central Texas is drought free, as is a sizeable area in Far West Texas and a good portion of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Much of the Rolling Plains and the High Plains remains in moderate drought with several significant pockets of extreme drought and two smaller areas in exceptional status. One of those exceptional drought areas is links to Southwest Oklahoma; the other is to the south and east, nearer Dallas.

A seasonal drought outlook map showing expected conditions from October 16 through January indicates most of the Southwest remaining in some stage of drought but improving. The areas in both Oklahoma and Texas currently showing drought-free status should continue that trend, the reports says.



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