More Texas land out of worst drought stage

May 17, 2012 9:49:42 AM PDT
Recent rainfall across much of West Texas has diminished to less than 2 percent the area of the state in the worst drought stage.

Records show that hasn't happened since March 2011.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows 1.4 percent of the state in exceptional drought. The map from March 29, 2011, had none in the worst stage. The dryness in West Texas has lingered longer than other areas

National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy says the improvement stems from most of the state's major cities so far this year getting more rain than in all of 2011.

Last year was the driest on record for Texas, compounded by blistering temperatures and windy conditions. The drought cost record agriculture losses -- an estimated $7.6 billion.