Recent rainfall has improved drought status for Texas by four percentage points compared to last week, but a significant area in North Central Texas and extending all the way to the Oklahoma Panhandle remains in severe to exceptional drought.
Currently, 36 percent of the state is considered in moderate to exceptional drought status. That’s down from 40 percent last week and 43 percent three months ago. Last year 67 percent of the state was rated in moderate to exceptional drought at this time.
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Oklahoma is headed in the opposite direction, up more than three percentage points from last week, with most of the state from central to the far end of the Panhandle still in moderate to exceptional drought status. Almost 51 percent of the state is considered in severe to exceptional drought with the driest section still the southwest corner of the state, an area that extends into the most severe drought area in Texas, in the Wichita Falls to Vernon area. More than 70 percent of Oklahoma is considered in moderate to exceptional drought. The southwest corner of the state is in the best shape with some eight counties rated drought-free.
Rating from last week is only slightly improved and is some 8 points worse than three months ago. Last year at this time 77 percent of the state was rated in moderate to exceptional drought.
Much of Texas has moved into drought-free status as well. A large section extending from the Red river on the Northeast corner and into Est Central Texas and all the way to the Lower Rio Grande Valley is now out of drought, thanks to extensive rainfall the last few weeks.
Far West Texas and a handful of counties near New Mexico’s eastern border are also out of drought.
Concerns remain, however, over reservoir levels, which are 13 percentage points below normal. Much of the western half of the state has seen little recovery.
Reservoir levels remain an issue in southwest Oklahoma as well where recent reports indicate Lake Lugert at 9 percent of capacity.