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Texas Drought 2011: Recent Rains Lead To Less Than Half Of State In Worst Drought Category

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Smoke from the wildfires hangs over Bastrop County September 7, 2011 in Bastrop, Texas. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images) | Getty File

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Recent rains in parts of Texas have led to less than half of the state being in the worst category of drought for the first time since last spring.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows 43.29 percent of Texas in exceptional drought, down from 52.67 percent last week.

It was the first time since May that the map showed less than 50 percent in the worst category. The highest percentage came in October at 87.99 percent.

Texas is in its worst single-year drought. The state has seen an average of about 12 inches of rain since January, just 46 percent of the normal total of 26 inches.

Blistering temperatures and dry conditions fostered wildfires that blackened about 6,000 square miles and destroyed more than 2,700 homes.

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