U.S. Drought Portal


Southern Plains Drought Outlook Summary - August 21, 2014

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

Current Drought

  • Extreme drought conditions (D3 or worse) now cover only 15% of TX, 15% of OK, and 7% of NM. This is the lowest amount for all states since mid-March of 2014.
  • The likelihood of El Nino conditions developing by winter is near 65%.
  • El Nino development is expected to bring drought relief in the fall/winter for much of NM, OK, and TX.
Region None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4

Current/Ongoing Drought Impacts

Oklahoma: Many reservoirs in the southwestern Oklahoma are less than 50% full. 
Texas: Statewide, Texas reservoirs remain 65% 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 has enacted 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 7% of capacity.

Southern Plains Drought Outlook

  • Unusual drought improvement during the summer months in TX and OK.
  • Expected improvement in NM due to summer monsoonal rains.
  • 65% probability of El Nino by years end and expected increased chances for above normal precipitation across all 3 states into early 2015.

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

  • September is the 3rd wettest month of the year in NM.
  • 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, except for deep south TX.
  • 3 month Seasonal Drought Outlook shows this improvement, except for deep south TX.

3-Month Outlook - Temperature

  • Equal chances for above, below, or near normal temperatures across most of the region.
  • Parts of western OK, northern NM, and the TX panhandle show a slight 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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