For the first time in at least three years both Texas and Oklahoma drought monitor maps show no areas in either extreme or exceptional drought status.
In fact, Texas shows more than 70 percent of the state as drought-free. Just less than 30 percent is rated from abnormally dry to severe drought. About 15 percent is ranked moderate to severe and only 3.3 percent is in severe drought status.
The western half of Oklahoma remains the driest area of the state, but almost 50 percent of the state is considered drought-free. About 50 percent remains in abnormally dry to severe drought status with only about 9 percent rated severe and 41 percent in moderate to severe status.
Oklahoma’s southwest corner remains in severe drought status despite heavy rainfall for the past three weeks, but reports from Extension and grower organizations indicate farmers are unable to perform needed fieldwork because of wet fields and continued rain. Also, key reservoirs have reached elevations not seen in more than three years.
A year ago, more than 94 percent of Oklahoma was ranked from abnormally dry to exceptional drought and 81 percent was rated from moderate to exceptional.
Just three months ago, 65 percent of the state was rated at moderate to exceptional drought status.
One year ago, 90 percent of Texas was considered abnormally dry to exceptional drought and more than 55 percent was ranked severe to exceptional.
As late as three months back, 43 percent of Texas was in moderate to exceptional drought status.
The dark spots on both Texas and Oklahoma drought monitor maps (indicating exceptional drought status), located mostly in the southwest corner of Oklahoma and extending south into the Vernon/Wichita Falls area of Texas, have disappeared.
Farmers across the region have been hampered by persistent rainfall and cotton, corn, grain sorghum and peanut planting has lagged. Some observers are beginning to worry about wheat heads beginning to sprout and some isolated reports indicate a few fields have suffered wind or hail damage.
Overall, however, farmers say they prefer the moisture to another year of devastating drought.