AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Drought conditions around the state of Texas worsened by about 10% in the last week, according to the Texas Water Development Board. However, including for the High Plains, the end of the summer-long heat dome may mean improved chances for drought relief in the coming days.
Texas mostly saw drought conditions spread and worsen overall throughout the week, according to the most recent “Water Weekly” report from the TWDB, with 86% of the state experiencing drought conditions in comparison to 76% at the beginning of September.
Every county in the Texas Panhandle was reported to be impacted by drought conditions, with Hardeman County experiencing an “extreme” drought level at the worst and Potter County also reporting “severe” drought through most of its area.
“Weekly drought increases were the norm all summer as a high-pressure dome over Texas reduced rain chances and raised temperatures,” said the TWDB report, “That dome is now gone, improving our chances for drought relief.”
As previously reported on MyHighPlains.com, the state of Texas was under a “heat dome” for most of the summer, reaching record-breaking heat multiple times. This was caused by a strong change in ocean temperatures that trapped warm air over the region, instead of letting the warm air move along like it would in a typical heat wave. The Texas Panhandle, on the outskirts of the dome and subject to weeks of sustained rain and flooding in the early summer, also had to contend with a higher heat index caused by the humidity.
With the end of the heat dome, as noted by the TWDB and in other reports from MyHighPlains.com, the temperature and precipitation trends in the state may start to shift as the year moves into fall and winter, and closer to the peak of the El Niño weather pattern. However, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration still recently predicted that warmer-than-average temperatures could persist in the state through November.