Dry continued to grow in intensity across Texas last week, as drought now covers more than half the state, the Texas Water Development Board said Monday in its weekly water report. The report found that 61 percent of the state is currently in some form of drought.
“Last week’s drought map shows continued expansion and intensification of drought across Central, Western and Southern Texas,” TWDB Hydrologist Mark Wentzel said. “The area impacted by drought jumped seven percentage points from the previous week and is now 61 percent of the state.”
A large area of “extreme drought” currently covers the vast majority of the Texas panhandle and extends south. Locally, all of Texoma remains drought-free following a wet end to February that saw nearly nine inches of rainfall — three times the monthly average — inundate the area.
For East Texas, February 2018 proved to be the wettest February on record with some areas receiving more than eight inches of rainfall. By comparison, the high planes saw the driest November through February with 0.38 inches, the TWDB said in the report.
Despite the wet end of last month, the region has remained dry and mostly rain-free until this week. Much like February, the majority of March’s rain will come at the end of the month, officials with the National Weather Service said Tuesday.
Meteorologist Bianca Villanueva said the region could expect two to three inches of rain, with isolated areas of heavier thunderstorms through Thursday, when conditions are expected to dry out again. Rain will return to the forecast Sunday and Monday, but currently meteorologists are only predicting a 20 percent chance, she said.
Despite the dry start to March, the elevation at Lake Texoma remained slightly above average for this time of year. As of Tuesday afternoon, the pool elevation at Lake Texoma was 615.72 feet. This put it into the flood control pool, which was 1.94 percent full.