Texas panhandle drought ends - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Texas panhandle drought ends

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The recent rainfall in the Texas panhandle pushed the area out of the recent drought conditions.

The US Drought Monitor shows the region is out of drought status, but some areas are still classified as abnormally dry.

Since January, most of Texas has been in a drought.

In fact, for two months more than 95 percent of the state was considered abnormally dry.

NewsChannel 10 spoke with the National Weather Service in Amarillo Saturday and as of may 5th, the overall area has received enough rain.

"With the rains we've been getting recently, it [has] really helped to replenish a lot of the moisture we've been lacking and that helped boost us out of the drought state," said NWS Meteorologist J.J. Brost. 

This means good news for farmers, but the steady rainfall hasn't raised the level of Lake Meredith.

"Well the lake hasn't seen those good rains that a lot of folks have," said Kent Satterwhite, Canadian River Municipal Water Authority General Manager.  "A lot of the rains have been south and downstream from the dam. We need it in our watershed."

"As you know living in Amarillo we could get an inch of rain on the east side of town and only a half an inch on the west side of town so what you really need is long term consistent rains everywhere," said Brost. 

That area lacking large amounts of rain follows the Canadian River.

CRMWA says areas that need heavy rain the most are along I-40 from Amarillo to Tucumcari and from Dumas north to Dalhart.

More importantly, Lake Meredith needs rains close to the river near Channing and Boys Ranch.

History shows big rains in the area can raise the lake several feet.

Without rain in those areas, Lake Meredith will continue to see levels drop, reaching a critical stage where CRMWA can't pump.

If CRMWA can't pump water from Lake Meredith, they are forced to use water from underground aquifer, and that costs taxpayers more.