AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to the most recent report from the Texas Water Development Board, the surface area of Texas impacted by drought conditions fell for the fourth week in a row. However, drought conditions have continued in some areas of the state, such as Central Texas and the Texas Panhandle.
As of Nov. 22, according to the TWDB, 63% of Texas was being impacted by drought conditions. While that percentage is a significant improvement from three months ago when 85% of the state was experiencing drought conditions, current drought levels were still markedly more severe than the 40% seen during the same time in 2021.
For the Texas Panhandle, counties such as Dallam, Sherman, Hansford, Ochiltree, and Lipscomb appeared to be most significantly impacted by drought conditions as of Nov. 22. According to data from the US Drought Monitor, most of the region was experiencing “moderate” or “severe” drought conditions, with the most heavily impacted counties categorized under “exceptional” drought conditions.
On a statewide level, “exceptional” drought conditions were reported in the northmost part of the Texas Panhandle as well as southeast in the areas around counties such as Kendall, Comal, and Bexar.
Mark Wentzel, a hydrologist with the TWDB Office of Water Science and Conservation, further reported on water conditions in the state’s reservoirs. After reaching a low of 67% in late October, Wentzel reported that reservoir storage levels rebounded to nearly 70% capacity.
“Late November storage is almost 11 percentage points better than in 2011,” noted Wentzel, “but still nearly 11 percentage points below normal for this time of year.”
As previously reported, the 90-day outlook published in November by the Climate Prediction Center predicted that as part of the effects of La Niña, monthly and seasonal temperatures in Texas are expected to be above average. Further, both monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks for Texas predicted lower-than-average levels, which could lead to a warm and dry winter that aggravates current drought conditions.
As of Wednesday, at least 13 counties in the Texas Panhandle were under outdoor burn bans, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, including Potter and Randall Counties.