LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Rains across South Texas the past week have loosened drought's grip on the region and the state's overall condition is better.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed that all but one category of drought improved since last week. Parts of South Texas moved from the worst of five drought categories exceptional to severe, an improvement of two stages. Only 8.5 percent of the state remained in exceptional drought, down from about 15 percent a week ago.

Texas has no drought in about 32 percent of the state, up from 31 last week.

Three months ago just 3.2 percent was without any drought status.

Only 90 of 254 counties have burn bans, down from 161 in mid April. Most of Texas' remaining 164 counties without bans are east of Interstate 35.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.