Rains fell this week over portions of the South, Southeast, lower Midwest and portions of the Mid-Atlantic, easing drought conditions overall, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
The drought still remains for more than 70% of the contiguous U.S., compared to 53% one year ago. Extreme and exceptional drought covers nearly 20%, compared to half that, nearly 10%, one year ago.
More than 60% of the drought-stricken Plains remains in extreme to exceptional drought, compared to 2% one year ago. Some rainfall did appear this week in the region, easing drought conditions in Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The remainder of the region was unchanged.
Some areas see one-category improvements
Widespread rains in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas improved drought conditions. In Texas, some abnormally dry areas returned to normal and D2 and D1 conditions retreated. Four to six inches of rain reached northern Mississippi, also returning some areas to normal. Tennessee also saw relief.
The upper Midwest narrowly missed out on rain that reached Southern Illinois and Kentucky, remaining unchanged for the week.
Into the West, short-term precipitation accumulations during the last 60 days led to one-category improvements in northern portions of California, according to the David Simeral of the Western Regional Climate Center. Snowfall over Colorado has been minimal, leading to further deterioration, he notes.
Simeral says in the 6-10 day outlook, there will be a high probability of below-normal precipitation, with exception of the Great Lakes Region. Temperatures will likely be below normal in many areas.
Source: US Drought Monitor