(Editor’s Note: The above clip is a view of top headlines from the morning of May 10, 2023.)

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – While Texas has continued its inching struggle toward an overall decrease in drought conditions and eagerly looks toward the arrival of El Niño, the High Plains has seen its drought worsen significantly in the last few weeks, according to the most recent data released by the Texas Water Development Board.

The most recent drought maps from the beginning of May showed general improvement over the eastern half of Texas, noted by the TWDB, but a distinct spread and increased severity of drought conditions for most of the west.

TWDB reported that as of May 2, drought conditions covered 54% of Texas’ surface area, a meager 1% decrease from the end of April. While that percentage is a significant overall improvement from the 80% drought coverage Texas experienced at the same time in 2022, the High Plains have seen no relief.

According to the most recent map, “exceptional” drought conditions in the Texas Panhandle were impacting eight out of the 10 northernmost counties. Deaf Smith County and Oldham County also made the jump from being the only two Panhandle counties under “moderate” conditions in April to “extreme” by the start of May.

While experts consider it possible that the High Plains will see relief with the onset of El Niño conditions in early summer, as noted in previous reports on MyHighPlains.com, and expect May to offer some drought recovery, the region began the month in the lurch.

Even then, similar to the TWDB’s note about the Waco area in its most recent report, incoming bouts of rainfall for the region will not immediately mend the impact of the ongoing drought conditions. Local water supplies and general conditions will take time to recover, leaving the High Plains as it has been – in a waiting game against the drought.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.