Dry conditions across the state of Texas saw slight improvement over the past week, but drought-like conditions continued to persist in Texoma, the Texas Water Development Board said Tuesday in its weekly water report. This week’s report found that 41 percent of the state — down from 43 percent last week — is currently in a state of drought.
“The latest drought map shows a 2 percentage point decrease in the area of the state impacted by drought,” TWDB Hydrologist Mark Wentzel said in the report. “The area of extreme drought decreased by 4 percentage points to 9 percent of the state, its lowest value since late January 2018.”
The most severe drought seems centralized in the Texas Panhandle in the latest report, with high concentrations of extreme and exceptional drought — the two highest categories. However, the cells of extreme drought have broken into smaller pieces in the latest report, and pockets of extreme drought along the Rio Grande have since improved.
Locally, conditions across Texoma remained drought-free, but much of Collin, Grayson and Cooke counties was described as “abnormally dry” in the report. This classification does not indicate a full-scale drought, however conditions could deteriorate without additional rainfall.
The recent dry spell comes following a series of dry months this spring. While February saw nearly nine inches of rain inundate parts of the region, each month since has seen below-average rainfall.
“Since late April 2018, scattered storms have brought at least one category of drought improvement to large areas of the Panhandle and West, Central and South Texas,” Wentzel said. “However, new areas along the coast and near and east of Dallas-Fort Worth have started to dry out.”
For the month of May, a Sherman co-op weather station recorded just 1.47 inches of rainfall, well below the 5.32 inches the region normally receives. National Weather Service Meteorologist Bianca Villanueva said these dry conditions are likely to remain for the foreseeable future.
This dry spell is expected to lead into June, which is historically the third wettest month of the year. Looking at long-range climate predictions, Villanueva said meteorologists are expecting this trend to continue for the next three to four weeks.