AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to the most recent report from the Texas Water Development Board, drought conditions in the state continued to contract in East Texas while expanding and intensifying in the Panhandle, as well as in Central and South Texas. The report noted that at the end of February, Texas was experiencing the most widespread drought conditions so far in 2023, after weeks of remaining mostly steady.

Data from the TWDB and US Drought Monitor noted that about 58% of Texas was experiencing drought conditions by Feb. 21, a slight increase from previous weeks. However, those conditions also remained a significant improvement from the 63% drought impact of three months ago or the 79% recorded from this point in 2022.

Most of the Texas Panhandle was shown to be under “severe” or “extreme” drought conditions in the latest data, with “exceptional” drought conditions concentrated in Dallam, Sherman, and Hansford Counties.

The TWDB went on in its report to note that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal outlook forecasted small drought condition improvements in East Texas over the next few months, while drought is expected to persist and expand in the rest of the state. The National Weather Service was noted to be expecting most of Texas to be experiencing drought conditions by the end of May.

As Texas moves into what the Texas A&M Forest Service has described as its dormant fire season, marked with the anniversaries of some of the worst recorded fires in the state’s history, most of the counties in the Texas Panhandle have remained under burn ban orders. High winds not only contributed to fire risk in the last weekend of February in the Texas Panhandle, but also resulted in power outages impacting thousands of residents.

Check here for today’s Amarillo, Canyon, and High Plains regional forecast and weather radar.