Rain does little to curb East Texas drought conditions

(AP/KTRE) - The amount of Texas land classified in one of the worst drought categories more than tripled in one month.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map showed 43 percent of the state on March 29 in extreme drought - the second-most severe stage of dryness. Only about 13 percent of the state was in extreme drought on March 1.

The latest map shows drought conditions across the state are expected to worsen through June, with the wildfire threat remaining extremely high as warmer-than-normal temperatures and a lack of rainfall persist.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said that not since the autumn and winter of 1966-67 has Texas had a drier October-February. He says the five months ending Feb. 28 saw a statewide average of only 4.7 inches of rainfall.

After a chilly start to our Tuesday East Texans can expect mostly sunny skies and pleasant conditions will greet us this afternoon. Highs will reach the lower 70s.

Tuesday night will be cool but not as cold as this morning. Lows will drop down into the upper 40s.

Wednesday will be sunny again with warmer temperatures. Our winds will increase a bit out of the south between 15 and 20 miles per hour. Highs will reach the 80 degree mark.

You can track weather conditions at the KTRE Storm Tracker 9 Weather Center.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. Some information for this story provided by AP. All rights reserved.