AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – After multiple weeks of sustained rainfall dousing the High Plains region, the Texas Water Development Board and the US Drought Monitor reported significant improvement to drought conditions in the Texas Panhandle compared to the beginning of May.
Continuing with its eighth week in a row of decreased drought conditions, the TWDB reported that 42% of Texas was experiencing drought conditions as of May 23, with the area of the state impacted reaching “its smallest extent since November 2021.”
TWDB reported that as of its latest report, Texas saw a notable improvement in drought conditions, with the amount of the state being impacted dropping markedly from 49% to 42% in one week. Three months ago, 58% of the state was experiencing drought conditions, and 79% around this time last year.
In the Texas Panhandle, TWDB’s latest report showed only Sherman and Hansford Counties were experiencing “exceptional” drought conditions, in comparison to the six counties that reported the highest severity of drought at the beginning of May. Further, while around 13 counties in the Texas Panhandle continued to report “extreme” drought conditions in at least some areas, most counties in the region reported a decrease in their drought intensity by at least one level.
The most recent TWDB report also detailed that surface water supplies have improved across the state, albeit at different rates in different areas. Storage in Waco Lake increased by over 10% in May, while Proctor Lake was up by only 7%. However, this coincides with notable water level increases in the Amarillo and High Plains area, which have seen record water level rises on the Canadian River as well as significant increases to the water level in Lake Meredith.
Although as previously noted on MyHighPlains.com, local water supplies and general drought conditions will take time to show sustained improvements, the most recent TWDB report may provide a clearer look into the gains that a summer and fall season of El Niño conditions could bring to the High Plains.