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Texas officially drought-free for first time in 5 years

KXAN News - AUSTIN (KXAN) - The U.S. Drought Monitor officially removed the last remaining portion of Texas still considered in drought status. Rain in the Panhandle last week resulted in the end of drought conditions in that portion of the state. The last time the entire state of Texas was drought-free was April 27, 2010.

While two areas, including northwestern portions of the Hill Country remain in what is considered a D-0 classification, or "abnormally dry," that is not an official drought designation.

In the KXAN viewing area, much of Mason, San Saba and Llano counties are still considered abnormally dry.

Not everyone agrees the drought has ended. Weeks after storms dumped flooding rains over the Hill Country, the Lower Colorado River Authority is still encouraging Central Texans who use water from the Highland Lakes to continue to conserve because the lakes have not fully recovered from the ongoing drought.

"We're not ready to call this drought history," said John Hofmann, LCRA Executive Vice President of Water. "We're in much better shape in terms of water supply than we were just a month ago, but we don't want anyone to put their guard down too soon. While we are seeing higher lake levels than we have seen in some time, we also know from history that droughts can persist after heavy rains, especially here in Flash Flood alley."

The U.S. Drought Monitor posted the following regarding today's drought removal in Texas:

During the past week, generally dry conditions prevailed across most of the region with the exception of some isolated pockets of heavy shower activity (four-to-eight inches) in west central and some lesser accumulations (two-three inches) in the northwest panhandle of Texas.

In these parts, one-category improvements were made in areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) as well as in the sole remaining area of Moderate Drought (D1) in the state.

According to the NWS in San Angelo (TX), Abilene already has broken the July rainfall record at 8.26 inches.

Statewide, Texas experienced the wettest January through June period on record (1895-2015), according to NOAA NCEI.

In Oklahoma, short-term improvements led to removal of the remaining areas of Abnormally Dry (DO) in the Panhandle region. During the past week, temperatures were below normal in the western half of the region while eastern portions hovered near-to-slightly-above normal.


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