U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - February 19, 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, west, and southeast TX are now drought free.
  • Little change however to the core drought areas in north TX, west OK, and the TX/OK panhandles.
  • Severe drought currently covers approx. 46% of OK, 28% of TX,
    and 26% of NM.
  • Three months ago, severe drought covered approx. 47% of OK, 24% of TX, and 28% 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 only 65% full; the 2nd lowest for this time of year since 1990, and nearly unchanged from last year.
  • The main reservoir serving Wichita Falls is 19% full, the lowest since its impoundment in 1969. The city is continuing the re-use of wastewater.
New Mexico: Three of the four largest reservoirs in NM are at 16% or less of capacity, including the largest, Elephant Butte.





Drought Summary

  • Much of south, southeast, and west Texas, as well as parts of eastern New Mexico, have seen above normal rainfall over the past 90 days. This has resulted in some short-term drought improvement.
  • However, most of the core drought areas in western Oklahoma, north Texas, the TX/OK panhandles and the Red River area were drier than normal, and have thus seen little to no drought improvement.
  • Weak El Nino conditions should persist for another few months. This should result in increased chances for above normal precipitation across New Mexico, west Texas, and the TX/OK panhandles.

3-Month Outlook - Precipitation

  • The likelihood of weak El Nino conditions persisting into the spring is around 50%-60%.
  • As a result, above normal precipitation is favored through May across all of NM and most of TX and western OK.
  • Despite this, the latest Drought Outlook still shows drought persisting across the region, with improvement possible in central OK and along the Red River.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Below normal temperatures are favored through May for nearly all of TX and OK. There is no strong seasonal forecast signal for NM.
  • Colder than average temperatures, combined with above normal precipitation, 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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