Drought conditions continued to escalate in North Texas this past week as the Texas Water Development Board identified “moderate drought” conditions in the northeastern tip of Fannin County. This update came as a part of the TWDB’s weekly water report, which was released Monday afternoon.
“Drought conditions mostly improved in the lower Rio Grande Valley; however, moderate drought increased considerably in Northeast Texas, now affecting all of six counties and parts of another half dozen,” Robert Mace, TWDB deputy executive water science and conservation administrator, said in the report.
This week’s report saw some improvement in drought conditions for several counties in Texoma. Cooke County was described as drought free after weeks of being classified as “abnormally dry.” Similarly both Grayson and Collin counties also received relief from “abnormally dry” conditions, however dry conditions persisted for portions of both counties.
The “abnormally dry” classification describes a region that has received less rain than normal, but not to the point of being described as a drought. However, if these continue, drought could follow.
The ongoing dry spell comes following a dry September, where portions of the region received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain for the month. This in turn followed the wettest August on record for portions of Grayson County.
For October, a weather co-op station near Sherman has received 2.22 inches of rain, National Weather Service Meteorologist Jason Godwin said Monday. On average, the station receives about 3.97 inches of rain for the month, he added.
For the majority of the week, Godwin said he expected conditions to stay dry and cool, with temperatures in the 70s through mid-week. On Wednesday and Thursday, highs are expected to rise into the mid 80s.
However, a cold front late Saturday will bring with it cooler temperatures and an increased chance of rain, he said. Godwin said there was about a 50 percent chance for rain Saturday night, with a 40 percent chance Sunday.
In addition to its normal content, Monday’s report included an update on long-range climate forecasts and conditions at reservoirs in the region. Mace said despite the presence of drought conditions, local reservoirs remain at near-record levels.
As of Monday afternoon, Lake Texoma’s elevation was at 618.74 feet with 4.09 percent of the flood storage pool full.
“Despite this increase in drought, reservoirs in the Northeast Texas climate division are collective the fullest they’ve been since 1990,” Mace said.
The climate forecast called for little changes in current conditions, with only a small portion of Northeast Texas expected to see conditions worsen.
“The drought outlook for October anticipated drought formation in Northeast Texas and suggests that it may be the southern tip of a drought area that extends north through Arkansas to contain Missouri, central-to-southern Illinois and a dab of Indiana,” Mace said in the report.