With the onset of fall weather, the U.S. South was starting to creep out of a devastating drought that has caused billions of dollars in damages, according to a national drought report issued Oct. 27.
For parts of Texas and Oklahoma, it has been the longest dry spell on record.
Recent rainfall, including showers moving through parts of the Plains in late October, helped replenish thirsty soils and barren ponds and reservoirs, though climatologists warned that it will take significant rainfall to overcome this summer s record heat and long-term drought.
As winter approaches and temperatures cool, less moisture will evaporate. That should help improve circumstances through Texas, parts of Oklahoma and elsewhere that have suffered from a long-lasting drought, according to the Drought Monitor report issued by a team of federal and academic climatologists.
The Drought Monitor stated that 90.87 per cent of the Lone Star State was considered in extreme or exceptional drought. That was down from 91.87 per cent a week earlier.
And the worst level of drought, exceptional drought, fell to 69.61 per cent from 72.61 per cent of the state, according to the Drought Monitor.
Texas so far has suf fered more than $5 billion in agricultural losses, and wildfires have scorched millions of acres during the state s longest dry period on record.
Oklahoma also saw an improvement in the level of exceptional drought, which dropped to 54.84 from 59.09 per cent of the state. And taking into account the second-worst level of drought, extreme drought, the dryness contracted to 86.26 per cent from 87.85 per cent.
Louisiana saw drought levels hold unchanged with exceptional drought spread through 35.36 per cent of the state.
But drought in the key wheat-producing state of Kansas grew worse, expanding to 34.06 per cent of the state in extreme drought condition.