U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - January 15, 2015

Text dated monthly, on date above. Images and statistics update more frequently.

Current drought conditions

Click below for detailed state drought information:

Current Drought

  • Parts of south and west TX and southern NM have seen much improvement since September 1, 2014.
  • Currently, extreme drought conditions (D3 or worse) cover about 22% of OK, 10% of TX, and 4% of NM.
  • 3 months ago, extreme drought conditions (D3 or worse) covered about 12% of OK, 13% of TX, and 7% of NM.

Current/Ongoing Drought Impacts

Oklahoma: Critical reservoirs in southwest OK such as Altus Lake and Tom Steed Reservoir are below 20% of capacity. (source US Army COE)
  • Statewide, Texas reservoirs remain only 64% full; the same as last year, and the lowest for this time of year since 1990. (source: TWDB)
  • The main reservoir which serves Wichita Falls is 19% full, the lowest ever for this time of year. The city continues re-use of wastewater for drinking. (source: wichitafallstx.gov)
New Mexico: 3 of the 4 largest reservoirs in NM are at 14% or less of storage capacity. The largest, Elephant Butte, is at 14% of capacity. (source: NOAA CLIMAS RISA)





Drought Summary

  • Much of south and west Texas and parts of New Mexico have seen above normal precipitation in the past 90 days. This has resulted in substantial short term drought improvement over these areas.
  • However, most of the core drought area in western Oklahoma, north TX, and the TX/OK panhandles and the Red River area were drier than normal and have seen little to no drought improvement.
  • Weak El Nino conditions should persist for another few months. This should result in increased chances for above normal precipitation across New Mexico, west Texas, and the TX/OK panhandles.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • Above normal precipitation is favored this winter/spring for all of NM and west TX. As a result, the Seasonal Drought Outlook favors drought improvement across all of NM.
  • The likelihood of weak El Nino conditions persisting into early spring is about 50%-60%, keeping NM, west TX, and the TX/OK panhandles with a tilt towards wetter than normal.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Below normal temperatures are favored into spring for all of TX and OK and eastern NM.
  • Colder than average temperatures combined with above normal precipitation should result in increased runoff, helping fill area lakes/reservoirs.

Additional Information

Supplemental Information graphic on Drought in the Southern Plains


The Southern Plains Drought Outlook narrative is provided by the NWS Southern Region Headquarters (SRH) Regional Operations Center (ROC).  The SRH ROC is one of the NOAA Weather Ready Nation Pilot Projects and a primary objective of the SRH ROC Pilot is to provide weather, water, and climate Decision Support Services to regional scale partners.

NWS Southern Region Headquarters
Regional Operations Center
819 Taylor St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Email: sr-srh.roc@noaa.gov
Phone: (817) 978-1100 ext 147


Share This: