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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Heavy rains across much of Texas this month have significantly improved drought in the state, and more wet weather is on the way, according to forecasters and data released Thursday.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map showed Texas with no areas in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. Rains last weekend greatly eased a short-term drought that started in late June after the state saw its wettest May on record.
According to CBS11 meteorologist Larry Mowry, this month DFW Airport received 7.57 inches. For the month of October we average 4.22 inches.
One area got more than 20 inches in a two-day period. The rainfall came from two events: a storm system Friday and Saturday that hit parts of West Texas, and North and Central Texas, and rains Saturday and Sunday across Southeast Texas that were from remnants of Hurricane Patricia.
The rains brought an average of 4 inches statewide, about an entire months’ worth of precipitation.
National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy in Fort Worth said more rain was expected east of a line from Childress to Del Rio — essentially the eastern two-thirds of the state — starting later Thursday and going through Saturday. Rain also is forecast next Thursday and Friday.
“I think El Nino is here with a vengeance now,” Murphy said.
El Nino, a flow of unusually warm surface waters from the Pacific Ocean toward and along the western coast of South America, changes rain and temperature patterns around the world and usually raises global temperatures.
Corsicana, southeast of Dallas, received 21 inches of rain Friday and Saturday. The deluge caused a portion of some railroad tracks to wash out, which led to a freight train derailment. Areas near Waco got as much as 14 inches.
About 16 percent of the state was experiencing extreme drought while another 5 percent was facing exceptional drought before last weekend’s rains arrived and brought flooding to some regions.
According to the drought map, more than 84 percent of Texas currently has no drought. About 28 percent of that is considered abnormally dry, which is not a drought category. A year ago, about 51 percent of Texas was abnormally dry or drought-free.
Moderate to severe drought is currently concentrated primarily in North and East Texas, with a band extending into Central Texas and southward. Many parts of West Texas, usually one of the drier regions of the state, have no drought designation.
May was the wettest month on record in Texas, and 35 trillion new gallons of rainwater helped swell the state’s reservoirs to levels not seen since the latest drought began in late 2010.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)