Rainfall, heavy in some areas, late last week and this Monday may alter the overall status of Texas drought, but as of Tuesday, the latest Texas Water Development Board drought report indicates that conditions continue to get worse.
The latest drought monitor shows 83 percent of the state experiencing some level of drought with 67 percent in severe and exceptional status. That’s up from 74 percent this time last week and up from 52 percent three months ago. This time last year, however, 92 percent of the state was in some level of drought status.
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Reports last week indicated continued drought in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the High Plains. A recent trip to Northeast Texas showed a much different picture—wheat yield potential is promising; corn and grain sorghum are off to a good start for the most part but some farmers report that corn is a little slow getting out of the starting block. One farmer described last week’s precipitation as “a million dollar rain.”
We were beginning to get dry,” said Texas AgriLife integrated pest management specialist Jim Swart, who works out of Commerce.
Observers in Southwest Oklahoma report as much as one inch of rain last week, a help for planting summer crops but not enough to break the drought or to see a crop through the summer.
Even with the rainfall, reservoir storage remains a concern. Weather reports in the North Texas area following last week’s heavy rainfall noted only minimal improvements in reservoir capacity with some lakes reporting no improvement. Statewide, the drought monitor indicates reservoir storage at 64 percent of capacity, no change from last week or three months ago. That percentage is 2 points lower than last year and is 20 points lower than normal for this time of year.