- Associated Press - Sunday, May 25, 2014

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - A slow-moving storm system has turned the long holiday weekend into a soggy one for much of Texas, but it’s bringing desperately needed relief to some drought-starved regions of the state.

The system is spinning slowly and bringing rain, thunder and hail to West and Central Texas, which is in the fourth year of a drought, National Weather Service meteorologist Jonathan Guseman in Lubbock said Sunday.

Midland received about two inches of rain early Saturday, and half of it fell in an hour, weather service meteorologist Rick Hluchan said. Flash-flood warnings in the Midland-Odessa area were scheduled to end Sunday afternoon.

A stretch of Interstate 10 between Fort Stockton and Ozona saw “large hail, golf-ball-sized and even baseball-sized ones, there’s even been flash flooding. It’s been a crazy day,” Hluchan said.

Vance McMorries farms about 4,500 acres in the Midland-Odessa area, and said Sunday that he’s measured about two inches of rain in the past two days.

“The drought has been really tough, we’ve had four years of really hard drought … the rain is very welcome,” the rancher said. His field absorbed most of the rain, though he said there are a few spots where water is still standing.

“It’s soaking in,” he added.

While the days of rain will “put a dent on the drought,” Hulchan said, it’s been so long that the ground isn’t ready to absorb all of it.

“It is like concrete, we have a lot of standing water,” Hluchan said.

The small town of Ralls, northeast of Lubbock, has received 5.4 inches of rain over the past three days, while San Angelo has received 4.2 inches and Lubbock has seen just under 4 inches, Guseman said.

A flood watch has been issued throughout most of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The system should move into Oklahoma by Tuesday.

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