U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - October 16, 2014

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

Current Drought

  • TX, OK, and NM have all seen overall drought improvement the past 3 months.
  • Currently, extreme drought conditions (D3 or worse) cover about 21% of OK, 11% of TX, and 8% of NM.
  • 3 months ago, extreme drought conditions (D3 or worse) covered about 29% of OK, 18% of TX, and 40% of NM.
Region None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4

Current/Ongoing Drought Impacts

Oklahoma: Critical reservoirs in southwest OK such as Altus Lake are at less than 10% of capacity.
  • Statewide, Texas reservoirs remain 64% full, slightly more than 2013 levels. (source: TWDB)
  • The main reservoir which serves Wichita Falls is 19% full, an all-time low. The city continues re-use of wastewater for drinking. (source: wichitafallstx.gov)
New Mexico: 2 of the 4 largest reservoirs in NM are at 11% or less of storage capacity. The largest, Elephant Butte, is at 9% of capacity.





Drought Summary

  • Most of Texas saw above normal rainfall in September bringing continued improvement. Oklahoma was slightly drier than normal, resulting in less improvement.
  • July through September monsoonal rains in all but northwest New Mexico were at or above average, bringing significant drought improvement to most of the state, especially the southeast.
  • 65% probability of El Nino conditions by the end of 2014. This should result in increased chances for above normal precipitation across much of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas into early 2015.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • The likelihood of El Nino conditions developing by winter is still high (65%).
  • El Nino development favors some drought relief in the fall/winter for all three states.
  • Increased chances for above normal precipitation across nearly all three states.
    • Drought Outlook shows improvement for much of the Southern Plains.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • All of TX and most of OK and NM show a tilt towards below normal temperatures for Nov/Dec/Jan.
  • Extreme northwest NM and extreme northern OK have equal chances of above, below, or near normal temperatures.

Additional Information


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



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