U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - September 18, 2014

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

Current Drought

  • Extreme drought conditions (D3 or worse) covers about 13% of TX, 12% of OK, and 7% of NM. The trend continues to show some improvement for all states since the spring of 2014.
  • The likelihood of El Nino conditions developing by winter is still high (65%).
  • El Nino development should bring drought additional relief in the fall/winter for all three states.
Region None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4

Current/Ongoing Drought Impacts

Oklahoma: Many critical reservoirs in southwest OK such as Altus Lake and Tom Steed Lake are less than 25% of capacity. 
Texas: Statewide, Texas reservoirs remain 64% full, slightly more than 2013 levels. (source: TWDB)
  • Reservoirs which serve Wichita Falls TX remain at all-time seasonal lows of 24% full, and the city continues re-use of wastewater for drinking. (source: wichitafallstx.gov)
New Mexico: 3 of the 4 largest reservoirs in NM are at 11% or less of storage capacity. The largest, Elephant Butte, is at 8% of capacity.





Drought Summary

  • Many areas in Texas and Oklahoma have seen unexpected short term drought relief during the summer months. Usually a time when high temperatures and spotty rains cause drought to increase.
  • Summer monsoonal rains arrived on schedule in early July for nearly all of New Mexico resulting in expected short term improvements. This should continue into September.
  • 65% probability of El Nino conditions by the end of 2014. This should result in above normal chances for wetness across much of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas for the upcoming fall and winter.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • Monsoonal wetness for NM typically ends in October.
  • October is the 3rd wettest month of the year for TX and OK.
  • Increased chances for above normal rainfall across all of NM, OK, and TX.
  • 3 month Seasonal Drought Outlook shows this improvement across all three states.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Equal chances for above, below, or near normal temperatures across OK and east TX.
  • West Texas and all of NM show a tilt towards below 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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