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Recent rains lift boats, but drought remains unbroken

The onslaught of late winter rain, sleet and snow made many North Texans feel as though they should begin the process of constructing an ark and start searching for two of each animal. But while reservoir levels got a significant boost, officials say the drought conditions in North Texas remain unbroken, but had improved.

According to officials from the North Texas Municipal Water District, the two lakes that service nearly 2 million residents in the region, Jim Chapman Lake and Lake Lavon, were up 7 feet and 5 feet, respectively. This raised the capacity of Chapman from 55 percent capacity to 65.5, and Lavon from 59 percent to 65.7 percent capacity.

Good news on a broader scale came from the Office of the Texas State Climatologist, with reports that the percentage of Texas not under drought conditions increased from 38.75% last week to 42.15% during the first part of March.

While the precipitation has given a modest boost to reservoirs, for farmers across Texas, the recent rains were almost too much of a good thing. With few warm, sunny days to dry out fields, the planting of many spring crops were further delayed. According to compiled reports from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension writer Robert Burns, while wheat was doing well, producers were anxious to plant corn in Central Texas. Burns also reported that East Texas was particularly saturated, to the point where some livestock were getting stuck in the mud and had to be towed out.

For the full report from the AgriLife Extension, click here.