U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - December 18, 2014

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 the fall.
  • 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 are at less than 10% of capacity.
  • Statewide, Texas reservoirs remain 63% full. The 2nd lowest for this time of year since 1990. (source: TWDB)
  • The main reservoir which serves Wichita Falls is 20% 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 12% or less of storage capacity. The largest, Elephant Butte, is at 12% of capacity.





Drought Summary

  • Much of south and west Texas and the southern 1/3 of New Mexico saw above normal rainfall in the fall. This has resulted in substantial short term drought improvement over these areas.
  • Nearly all of Oklahoma and much of north central and northeast Texas and the Red River area were drier than normal and have thus seen little to no drought improvement.
  • Near 65% probability of El Nino conditions by early 2015. This should result in increased chances for above normal precipitation across New Mexico, Texas, and most of Oklahoma into the spring of 2015.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • The likelihood of El Nino conditions developing by early 2015 is still high (~65%).
  • El Nino development favors above normal precipitation in the winter for TX and NM, and to a lesser extent, also OK.
  • Above normal precipitation is favored this winter across nearly all three states.
    • Drought Outlook shows improvement for much of TX and NM.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Below normal temperatures are favored this winter for all of TX and OK and most of NM.
  • The remainder of NM is forecast to have equal chances of below, above, 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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