Spring rains continued to bring relief to dry conditions across most of the state over the past week while intense drought persisted in the Texas Panhandle, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report. This week’s update found that 39 percent of the state is affected by some form of drought.


“The latest drought map shows a 10 percentage point decrease in the area of the state impacted by drought,” TWDB Hydrologist Mark Wentzel said. “Several weeks of scattered rains have improved conditions in Central Texas, but drought has continued to intensify in the panhandle.”


The most intense drought is centralized within the Texas Panhandle, which saw a mixture of “extreme” and “exceptional” drought conditions — the two most severe categories — in the latest update. Small patches of extreme drought all appeared in western Central Texas and along the Rio Grande Valley.


Locally, conditions have remained drought free for the majority of the spring following an exceptionally wet February. However, the months that have followed have proven to be drier than average.


For the month of May, the wettest month on average, a weather co-op station in Sherman has received just 0.8 inches of rainfall, National Weather Service Meteorologist Bianca Villanueva said. However, the same weather station normally gets about 5.4 inches of rain for the month, she said.


Villanueva said May is typically a wetter month due to storm systems that historically stall over the region for days at a time.


“But, we haven’t seen a cold front in the region in the last few weeks,” she said. “That has lead to the dry conditions and low rainfall this month.”


Villanueva said there are small chances for rain over several days later in the week. Following predicted rainfall Tuesday, Villanueva said the next chance for rain will likely be seen Friday night, with a 20 percent chance. The chances will stay in the forecast until early next week, Villanueva said.