BIG COUNTRY, Texas ( – We know that April showers bring May flowers, but what happens when there is no rain to be found around Abilene and its surrounding areas? The answer: Drought.

So far, 2022 has been very dry. This is easily seen on the drought monitor, as well as the lake levels across the Big Country and Heartland.

Drought update

As of the latest drought update on April 12, 2022, 97.13% of the state of Texas is in drought. Almost 50% of the state is experiencing ‘Extreme drought.’ Texas now has the most area covered in Extreme/Exceptional drought in the last 10 years.

Check out the visible changes in the figure below. Drag the button to compare.

January 2012 Drought Monitor compared to April 12, 2022 Drought Monitor

Portions of the Big Country have been in a drought since August 2021, and conditions have only worsened. The majority of the Big Country have been experiencing severe drought as of April 2022, but some areas have it worse than others.

Extreme drought is consuming most of the Heartland, including Brown county, while areas like Scurry, Mitchell, King, and portions of Mills counties are experiencing ‘exceptional drought.’

According to the National Weather Service in San Angelo, their forecast area saw 25% of normal precipitation across the majority of the Big Country and Heartland.

In past Spring seasons, the Abilene Regional Airport would usually report an average of at least 4.85 inches of rain.

For 2022, it’s only picked up close to three inches in the rain bucket. For that reason, fire weather concerns have increased.

With dry ground conditions, low humidity values, and breezy winds fire weather will remain a concern. Until the area can get a good soaking rain, any time the winds pick up fire danger will be on our minds.

Lake levels

While spring has not brought a lot of rain, it has brought some warmer temperatures back into the forecast. When you pair these two things together, it does not bode well for lake levels across the Big Country and Heartland.

Check out the current lake levels in the graphics below.

Lake J.B. Thomas is the lowest at 36% full, while Possum Kingdom Lake sat the fullest in April 2022 at 94%. Lake Abilene could use a fill-up, sitting at 65%, but Lake Brownwood seems to be doing well at 87%.

Keep your fingers crossed and doing those rain dances, and hopefully we can see some improvement to both drought and lake level conditions very soon.