U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - March 17, 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

  • Much of south, southeast, east, and far west TX are now drought free.
  • Little change to the core drought areas in north TX, west OK, and the TX/OK panhandles.
  • Severe drought covers approx. 48% of OK, 27% of TX, and 20%
    of NM.
  • Three months ago, severe drought covered approx. 41% of OK,
    23% of TX, and 29% of NM.

Current/Ongoing Drought Impacts

Oklahoma: Critical reservoirs in southwest OK such as Lake Altus-Lugert are less than 10% of capacity.
  • The main reservoir serving Wichita Falls is 19% full, the lowest since its impoundment in 1969. The city continues the re-use of wastewater.
  • Statewide, Texas reservoirs have risen to 69%% full, nearly a 10% increase from 3 months ago. More improvements likely in the months ahead, as the El Nino impacts persist.
New Mexico: Three of the four largest reservoirs in NM are at 18% or less of capacity, including the largest, Elephant Butte.





Drought Summary

  • Since January 1st , nearly all of TX and eastern New Mexico have seen above normal precipitation. This has resulted in some significant drought improvement.
  • However, most of the core drought areas in western Oklahoma, north central Texas, and the Red River area were drier than normal, and have thus seen little to no drought improvement.
  • El Nino conditions should persist through summer. This should result in increased chances for above normal precipitation across New Mexico, south and west Texas, and the TX/OK panhandles.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • The likelihood of El Nino conditions persisting through summer is around 50%-60%.
  • Above normal precipitation is favored through June across all of NM and most of south and west TX and the OK/TX panhandles.
  • The latest Drought Outlook shows drought improving thru June across most of TX, OK, and NM, except for the core drought areas.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Below normal temperatures are favored for eastern NM and south and west TX and the OK/TX panhandles.
  • There is no strong seasonal forecast signal for the rest of NM/TX/OK.
  • Increased chances for above normal rain should result in increased runoff, helping to fill area 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


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