As dry conditions rose across the state, drought-like conditions returned to Texoma for the first time in several months, the Texas Water Development Board said in its weekly water report. This marks the first time that the report has found drought-like conditions in Texoma since the unseasonably wet end to February.
“The latest drought map shows a 4 percentage point increase in the area of the state impacted by drought,” Mark Wentzel, a hydrologist with the TWDB, said in the report. “Locally heavy rainfall brought some relief to limited areas such as the eastern edge of the panhandle, but overall, drought expanded in the state.”
The most intense drought appears to be mostly centralized in the panhandle, which saw “extreme” and “exceptional” drought — the two most severe categories — in the latest report. Smaller bands of extreme drought also appeared slightly to the south and along the Rio Grande Valley.
Locally, the latest report showed a cell of “abnormally dry” conditions across Cooke County and the western edge of Grayson County. While this classification does not put the region in a state of drought, continued dry weather could escalate the situation.
This comes as recent months have seen near-record rainfall followed by relatively dry conditions. While February saw portions of the county receiving nearly nine inches of rain, both March and April failed to reach the average rainfall.
For the first three weeks of May, a co-op weather station in Sherman received only 1.27 inches of rainfall, National Weather Service Meteorologist Patricia Sanchez said. This falls significantly short of the 5.32 inches that the station would normally see for the month.
Sanchez said the recent dry spell has come due to a high pressure system settling over the region and preventing the seasonal spring rains and moisture from entering the region.
Sanchez said there is a chance for rain all throughout the remainder of the work week and into Saturday, but chances currently sit at about only 20 percent for each day. If rainfall does occur, Sanchez said it would be limited to small, centralized storms.
Going into Sunday and Memorial Day, Sanchez said conditions are expected to remain dry and sunny. This trend will continue through the remainder of the month, with little chance for additional rainfall, she said.