Drier than normal conditions forecasted to persist through spring: Potential expansion of drought into central and east Texas.
- Rain and snow in December helped to alleviate drought conditions in much of Texas, southern and central Oklahoma, and south-central and southeast Kansas.
- Moderate (D2) to Extreme (D3) Drought continues in the far southwest Oklahoma and western panhandle.
- Exceptional (D4) Drought persists in western Texas.
- Forecasts suggest drought conditions may spread in spring
- Dust storms and increased fire danger in western and central Kansas.
2020 Drought Recap
2020 Precipitation for the Southern Plains Region
Rainfall across the Southern Plains Region was near average for 2020, although some areas within the region experienced periods of severe and extreme drought throughout the year.
Annual state-wide average rainfall:
- Texas: 26.04 inches, 1.04 inches below average
- Oklahoma: 39.1 inches, 5.26 inches above average
- Kansas: 25.73 inches, 1.33 inches below average
2020 Percent of Normal Precipitation
Percent of Kansas in Drought: 2020
Percent of Oklahoma in Drought: 2020
Percent of Texas in Drought: 2020
Recent and Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions
- Drought conditions have improved over Texas and Oklahoma over the past month.
- Extreme (D3) to Exceptional (D4) drought persists across western parts of Texas and Kansas, and Harmon County, Oklahoma:
- Texas (20% of the state)
- Oklahoma (1%)
- Kansas (10%)
- Exceptional (D4) drought conditions have been in place in West Texas since August 2020.
U.S. Drought Monitor Change Map: 1 Month
Overall, precipitation was near average for Texas for the 30 days leading up to January 21, but this was not evenly distributed across the state. While eastern Texas has had over 6 inches of precipitation over the last four weeks, the panhandle and far western Texas (El Paso County) have received less than 0.5 inches.
Single-Storm and Seasonal Accumulated Snowfall
30-Day Percent of Normal Precipitation
Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI)
4-Week EDDI for January 15, 2021
- A spell of below-average temperatures and some snow helped lower evaporative demand over the Southern Plains in December.
- Monthly averaged EDDI to January 15 still shows slightly elevated evaporation for this time of year for central Kansas and western and southern Texas.
There is a greater chance for above-normal temperatures across the Southern Plains for the months February through April, with the highest probabilities in southern Texas.
The Climate Prediction Center's 3-month precipitation outlook shows that below-average precipitation is the most likely outcome for February–April across the southwest, including Texas and New Mexico. This pattern is typical of strong La Niña patterns.
View all current Climate Prediction Center outlooks.
Seasonal Drought Outlook
Exceptional (D4) drought persists in western Texas. The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal drought outlook (through the end of April) suggests that drought conditions may spread eastward in spring.
State-Based Conditions and Impacts
- Southern bias to precipitation allowed for drought improvement in south-central and southeast Kansas.
- Dust storms and increased fire danger remain an issue across the state.
- Milder than normal temperatures increase evaporative demand, and risk early break in dormancy of winter wheat.
- Four significant storms tracked over Oklahoma during December, helping reduce drought across much of southern and central Oklahoma.
- The areas of moderate to extreme drought in the far southwest and western panhandle have been in place since at least summer 2020.
- The first three months of 2020 were the record wettest in seven counties.
- The last nine months of 2020 were the record driest in thirteen counties.
202 Texas Precipitation Rankings by County
For More Information
More local information is available from the following resources:
NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
Regents Professor and Texas State Climatologist
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
Weather Data Library and Kansas Assistant State Climatologist
Dept. of Agronomy, Kansas State University
State Climatologist, Oklahoma Mesonet, Oklahoma Climatological Survey