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Southwest drought stubbornly hangs on

Dry conditions persist over much of the Southwest region
<p>Dry conditions persist over much of the Southwest region.</p>
Texas remains at 58 percent in moderate to exceptional drought, same as a week ago.

Stubborn as a willful child the drought that has tormented Texas and Southwest farmers and ranchers for the past four summers continues to dig in its heels and refuses to budge.

Improvements reported last week have failed to continue as the latest drought monitor shows no reduction in drought numbers this week.

Texas remains at 58 percent in moderate to exceptional drought, same as a week ago.

Still, that’s a significant improvement from three months back when 74 percent of the state was in that same drought range and is far better than this time last year when 88 percent of the state was rated in moderate to exceptional drought.

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Also of concern this week, according to the report from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), is a decrease in statewide reservoir storage “that undid what we gained last week.”

Worst conditions remain in the Texas Panhandle and into the Wichita Falls-Vernon area up into Southwest Oklahoma. Much of the Texas Panhandle is now in severe drought with significant areas in extreme drought and a few small areas considered exceptional.

Most of the rest of the state shows improving conditions, mostly in abnormally dry to moderate drought status. A large section in East Central Texas is drought free, as are smaller spots in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Far West Texas.

The latest drought report also indicates that an El Niño is projected to have a 70 percent chance of developing this summer and an 80 percent chance this fall and early winter.

“Sea surfaces continue to warm in the eastern equatorial area of the Pacific Ocean as El Niño becomes more and more likely,” the report says.



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