South Plains Improve, But Still Plagued by Drought

The latest drought indices indicate Lubbock and the surrounding counties have substantially improved their drought conditions in the last month. Lubbock County alone has seen almost 9 inches of rain. But, even that drastic rainfall hasn't been enough to alleviate the problem entirely.
by Victoria Price
vprice@kamc.tv

LUBBOCK, TX -- The latest drought indices indicate Lubbock and the surrounding counties have substantially improved their drought conditions in the last month. Lubbock County alone has seen almost 9 inches of rain. But, even that drastic rainfall hasn't been enough to alleviate the problem entirely.

The newest Keetch Byram index, which measures moisture levels in the ground, puts Lubbock County in the category of least concern.
But, don't let that that fool you...weather experts say we're still not in the clear. 

"What this is simply saying is that, for the region, there's been an improvement in the drought conditions. But, that is not an index we would use to determine if we are out of a drought," explains Meteorologist Ron Roberts, who's studied South Plains weather for decades.
"It has improved for sure over the last month, but, we're still in a severe drought."

The latest US Drought Monitor released last week shows Lubbock, and many the surrounding counties, still in a state of severe drought.
It's not optimal, but it's still an improvement from the exceptional drought it showed a month ago.

"I don't want people to think that because it's rained a lot, we're out of the drought.," Roberts says. "No, we're not. That means that you still need to conserve your water resources. We've been blessed to have the rain, but, let's be very careful now with how we use our water."

More good news for the drought could also be on the horizon. Many experts, Roberts included, expect to have an "El Nino" this year. That means more rainfall to come later in 2014, and not just to West Texas, but to the entire scorched Southwest.


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