Jump to main content

Water and Weather for May 2024 Posted on June 11, 2024


Dr. Mark Wentzel – Hydrologist, Texas Water Development Board

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Texas Water Development Board's latest Water and Weather report. I'm Dr. Mark Wentzel, a hydrologist in the Surface Water Division here at the agency. And today, we'll be taking a look at conditions for our state at the end of May. Let's take a look at some of the big water and weather headlines. May was wetter than normal for about half the state and drier than normal for the other half. The entire state was warmer than normal. At the end of May, 26 percent of the state was in drought, down one percentage point from the end of April. Statewide, storage in our water supply reservoirs was 77.5 percent of capacity, about seven percentage points below normal for this time of year. In the next few months, the eastern half of the state is expected to remain drought-free while drought expands in the western half.

Let's take a closer look at temperature and precipitation. On these maps, we're looking at both parameters relative to what is considered normal for May. From a water supply perspective, reds, oranges, and yellows mean trouble on both maps. They show areas with above-average temperature on the left and below-average precipitation on the right. May temperatures were at least two degrees above normal for most of the state. Precipitation varied considerably, with some areas of Central and East Texas getting three times their normal rainfall, while parts of West Texas got less than 5 percent of normal. The area of the state impacted by drought didn't change much in May. 

This is the Drought Monitor map for conditions as of May 28. On this map, 26 percent of the state is in drought, the tan, orange, and red colors, down only one percentage point from the end of April. Why so little change? Most of the rain in May fell in areas already free of drought, leading to very little drought improvement. At the same time, most of the areas that were dry in May were already in drought, leading to very little drought expansion.

May did bring some improvement to our statewide water supply conditions. The dark line on this chart shows how storage in our water supply reservoirs this year compares to minimum, maximum, and median values for the day of the year from data going back to 1990. Also displayed are lighter lines that show how we did in 2023 and 2022 and a red line that shows how we did in 2011. Statewide surface water supplies ended May at 77.5 percent capacity, up three percentage points from the end of April and more than five percentage points since the end of March. Current conditions are about seven percentage points lower than normal for the time of year.

What can we expect over the next few months? Drought improvement or degradation? It depends on where you live. Here's the latest seasonal drought outlook from the National Weather Service for conditions through the end of August. During that time, they expect the eastern half of the state to remain nearly drought-free. In the western half of the state, the outlook is quite a bit different with drought expected to expand. That concludes our report. Until next time, I hope you all stay healthy and safe.

This article is posted in Weather / Drought .