AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – After weeks of drought steadily spreading and worsening across the Lone Star State, conditions stagnated as of the second week of September. While it wasn’t an improvement, the Texas Water Development Board noted that it was only the second week that drought conditions haven’t actively worsened in Texas since mid-June.

However, the most recent “Water Weekly” report from the TWDB showed that even though Texas overall remained with 86% of its surface area impacted by drought conditions, that number was maintained while drought improved slightly in areas like the Texas Panhandle and worsened in others.

Hardeman County in the Texas Panhandle remained the county most severely impacted by drought conditions as of Sept. 18, according to the report, with an “extreme” drought intensity level.

Meanwhile, five counties in the northern part of the region – Hansford, Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Roberts, and Gray – reported leaving drought conditions altogether. The rest of the Panhandle region remained under either dry, moderate, or severe drought conditions.

A view of the month-over-month drought intensity change in Texas from mid-August to mid-September 2023.

In a broader view, TWDB Hydrologist Dr. Mark Wentzel noted that since mid-August, the area of Texas impacted by drought conditions expanded by 14% overall, and the area of exceptional drought has increased from less than 2% to more than 18%. The only area of the state that saw any decrease in drought intensity in the last month, said Wentzel, was South Texas, which got some rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Storm Harold.

As noted previously on, the recent end of the heat dome that covered the Lone Star State for most of the summer may start to shift temperature and precipitation trends as the year moves into fall and winter, as well as the peak of the El Niño weather pattern. 

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