Despite expanding drought and dry conditions across the state, conditions remained mostly unchanged in Texoma, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report. The latest report found that nearly 42 percent of the state is currently in a form of drought.
“Drought continues to intensify in the Panhandle and expand in other parts of the state,” TWDB Hydrologist Mark Wentzel said in the report. “In the last week, the area of the state impacted by severe or worse drought increased by give percentage points.”
In the latest report, the Panhandle seems to be the epicenter of the recent drought, with a patch of “extreme drought” in the northeast corner extending from Lipscomb County south to Wheeler and Gray counties. A second patch of extreme drought is centered to the south around Foard County.
Locally, Grayson County remains drought-free for the fourth week in a row in the latest report. Despite not being officially declared in a drought, the report classified Grayson as “abnormally dry.” This classification does not put the region in a drought, however without additional rainfall, the region may be at risk of entering more heightened levels of drought.
To the south, Collin County also was classified as abnormally dry in this week’s report. Fannin County saw similar conditions, but a small band of “moderate drought” ran across the northeast corner of the county. To the west, Cooke County saw moderate drought save for a small abnormally dry band along the Grayson border.
When abnormally dry conditions are included, the drought found that 79 percent of the state is experiencing drought or pre-drought conditions.
Despite remaining stable, it was only a few weeks ago that the region was in a state of “severe drought”— a classification between moderate and extreme. However, late-December rains brought relief from drought conditions.
For the month of January, National Weather Service meteorologist Jesse Moore said a co-op weather station in Sherman has recorded 1.16 inches of rain. This includes 0.11 inches of rain that was recorded during a series of brief thunderstorms that occurred Sunday afternoon. That total still places the region below the 2.47 inches of rain it regularly sees for the month of January.
The next chance for rain will likely come Friday and Saturday when chances for rain reach their peek at 40 percent, Moore said. For the remainder of the week, however, he said conditions are expected to remain dry.
In addition to the weekly report, the water board gave an update on the seasonal outlook. Despite expectations for drought to increase across the state, the report found that conditions are expected to remain stable for the Sherman-Denison area.
“Over the next few months, drought is expected to continue to expand in West, Central and South Texas,” Wentzel said. “By the end of April, only parts of North Central and East Texas are expected to remain drought free.”
Despite the dry start of the year, the lake levels at Lake Texoma remained slightly above average for this time of year. As of Monday afternoon, the lake elevation stood at 616.71 feet. That put the lake altitude into the flood control pool, which was 1.91 percent full.