By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Despite the helpful torrents of rainfall received in Cooke County lately, many areas in Texas are still classified as being in drought status.
According to the U.S. drought monitor, more than 87 percent of the state still suffers from moderate, severe, extreme or exceptional drought. The areas most hurt by dry conditions are the Panhandle, parts of the south plains, the south and southwest regions of the state.
Many areas of the state did receive drought relief from recent rains but due to the fact it was not equally distributed, several areas are still exceptionally dry.
According to Agrilife extension agent J.D. Ragland, Randal County, Amarillo reported “no significant accumulation.”
Ragland said, “Even irrigated corn and cotton are beginning to suffer, and no dryland will be planted until some kind of rainfall occurs.”
Lubbock County recorded temperature of 106 degrees on June 4 with a line of severe thunderstorms and extremely damaging winds reported. According to Agrilife extension agent Mark Brown the storms brought as much as 2 inches of rain which benefited the crops but the high winds damaged structures and toppled trees.
East Texas thunderstorms brought only rain and greened up the grass area around Tyler in Smith County.
The U.S. drought monitor stated that recent rainfall for the plains area of the U.S. which includes the North Texas area has made improvements with a possible easing of drought conditions.
In Gainesville, Cooke County Fire Marshall and Emergency Manager Ray Fletcher said that recent rains in Cooke County have only managed to bring levels back to where they needed to be with little extra to spare.
Regarding the threat of county fires, Fletcher also said that it has been relatively a quiet month for grass fires with little activity.
He said, “The surface moisture is good and the aquifers are good but June is one of our wettest months and we average five inches of rainfall so we do need more going into the rest of the summer months.”
According to the U.S.Climate Prediction Center of the national weather service, Cooke County is still in drought conditions but some improvements have been made. Over half of the state of Texas, primarily west and south have persistent drought conditions which may intensify as the year progresses.
Gainesville city manager Barry Sullivan said that water rationing was not implemented last year but that they will keep an eye on lake levels and other trigger points this year that could encourage water restrictions.
Gainesville residents receive water from both the ground tables and from Moss Lake which is currently down two feet for the year.
Sullivan said,” We use approximately 5.5 million gallons per day (MGD) from the ground table and one MGD from Moss lake. Moss Lake is currently down only two feet so we are OK there for now.”
Although Cooke County drought conditions have improved and water rationing has not been implemented, a long hot summer lies ahead so good stewardship of the existing water supply should be of the utmost importance.