U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - April 16, 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

  • Many areas of Texas are now free of drought.
  • However, significant drought conditions still persist in north Texas, western Oklahoma, and the panhandle regions
  • Severe, extreme, or exceptional drought conditions cover approximately 52% of Oklahoma, 25% of Texas, and 19% of New Mexico.

Current/Ongoing Drought Impacts

Oklahoma: Reservoir conditions remain critical in core drought areas; Lake Altus-Lugert in southwest Oklahoma stands at less than 10% of capacity, and the main reservoir serving Wichita Falls TX is approximately 20% full.
Texas:  Fortunately, Texas reservoirs have risen statewide to an average of 71% full, nearly a 10% increase from 3 months ago.
New Mexico: Conditions also remain challenging in New Mexico, where three of the four largest reservoirs stand at 20% or less of capacity, including Elephant Butte.





Drought Summary

  • El Nino has arrived! Warm sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean in place since the fall of 2014 have a 60% chance of continuing into the fall of 2015. Based on this El Nino feature and its connection to Southern Plains weather, the most recent seasonal outlook through July 2015 favors above normal rain chances for all of New Mexico, south and western Texas, and the Oklahoma panhandle. The remainder of Oklahoma and northeast Texas are forecast to have equal chances of above, below, or near normal rainfall. May and June are typically the wettest months of the year in these two states.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • Above normal rainfall is favored through July across all of New Mexico, most of south and west Texas, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.
  • The latest Drought Outlook shows drought conditions improving through July in much of the region, with the critical exception of the current core drought areas.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Below normal temperatures are favored through July for eastern New Mexico, south and west Texas, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle regions.
  • Equal chances of above, below, or near normal temperatures are favored through July in eastern Texas and Oklahoma.

Additional Information


Southern Plains Extra Information Slide


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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