Drought persists in much of Texas, despite recent rainfall that offered at least temporary relief and brought a bit of hope to farmers hoping for enough moisture to keep summer crops growing and ranchers praying for water to fill stock tanks and green up pastures and rangeland.
But conditions have improved noticeably in far West Texas where drought status has been changed to “likely removal.”
Much of East Texas, on the other hand, has changed from near drought-free to persisting drought.
“This is the reverse of what the outlook has been showing for several months,’ reads the most recent report from the Texas Water Development Board.
Drought maps indicate only a small area of far West Texas remaining in drought with a significant portion showing likely removal and a good chunk designated as “no drought.”
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The Western edge of the Texas Panhandle also shows improvement.
But no area in the state is completely invulnerable, especially considering the state of reservoirs. “Despite the recent and relatively widespread rains over the past week, statewide reservoir storage improved only slightly,” the TWDB report states. An improvement was measured at only 0.1 percentage points. “Dry ground and relatively low rainfall amounts when averaged over large areas contributed to the lack of runoff and reservoir rise.”
One exception, the report states, is Lake Brownwood, which improved by 15 percent following recent rainfall.
Statistics show that 99 percent of the state remains in drought. That’s the same as last week and up from 97 percent three months ago and 95 percent a year ago. State reservoirs are currently at 64 percent full, same as last week and two percentage points lower than three months ago. Reservoirs were at 74 percent capacity last year at this time and are normally at 83 percent.
Fares and ranchers have been pleased with recent rainfall events but also understand that crop conditions can change quickly under hot, dry conditions. Many already have suffered significant losses from early drought.