As dry conditions continue to persist across Texas, nearly half the state is now in a state of drought, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report. Meanwhile, the majority of Texoma has been spared from drought, but the threat still remains.

“Drought continues to intensify across the state,” TWDB Hydrologist Mark Wentzel said in the report. “In the last week, the area of the state impacted by extreme drought jumped from 2 (percent) to 4 percent.”

“Almost half the state is now impacted by moderate or worse drought,” Wentzel continued.

The worst of the drought, described in the report as extreme drought, seems to be confined to the northeast corner of the panhandle and extends to the southern edge of the panhandle. Locally, however, the majority of Texoma has seen moderate drought or “abnormally dry” conditions.

Both Grayson and Collin counties remain abnormally dry in the latest report. To the east, Fannin also is described as abnormally dry save for a small segment of moderate drought at the northeast corner of the county. Cooke County is described as being in moderate drought, with “severe drought” afflicting the western quarter of the county.

In total more than 85 percent of the state is currently experiencing drought or drought-like conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported late last week. While the “abnormally dry” rating does not put the region in a drought, conditions could deteriorate without additional rain.

This marks the fifth consecutive week that Grayson County has remained drought free following severe drought in December. Rains and precipitation over the Christmas weekend brought relief to otherwise dry conditions.

Despite the wet end of the December, officials with the National Weather Service said the region will end January with below average rainfall. For the month of January, a weather co-op station in Sherman received just 1.16 inches of rainfall, Meteorologist Patricia Sanchez said. This is below the 2.38 inches of rain the same station should expect for this time of year, she said.

With the start of February, Sanchez said she does not see a significant chance of rain in the immediate forecast. The next chance for rain will come Saturday night, when the chances rise to about 20 percent. The next chance will come Wednesday when the region sees similar chances, she said.