As the Drought Monitor stays clear for Midwestern farmers itching to finish planting corn and beans, showers hamper efforts in the upper Midwest and northern Plains.
Overall, the Drought Monitor showed relatively few changes, as the showers that appeared were short and scattered. However, small improvements were noted in the eastern half of Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Western Iowa and Minnesota also logged improvements.
In Texas, conditions are improving as one to three inches fell across the state, improving moderate drought areas and abnormally dry areas by one category in some areas. In south-central Texas, however, areas of exceptional drought and severe drought expanded.
Cooler patterns persisted throughout much of the Plains, though only the northern tier received heavy rains. Residual moisture from rainfall in the past several weeks has stuck around for farmers in Kansas, delaying some planting in low-lying areas.
Oklahoma continues to improve in south-central and north central regions of the state, though western Oklahoma remains unchanged.
It was hot and dry in the West, where drought continues to creep in. The overall pattern of hot and dry, with below normal precipitation brought continued deterioration in Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. In New Mexico, the Drought Monitor reports, the USDA National Ag Statistics Service reports 100% of range and pasture in the southwestern part of the state are in very poor condition.
Along the northern border of the U.S. and western coast, changes were made in Idaho and Oregon. In Idaho, the Drought Monitor shows below-normal precipitation and reduced water deliveries for farmers for irrigation. This has led to expansion of moderate drought.
Though the Midwest is in good shape drought-wise, farmers look to overcome days of lost productivity due to rains over the past few weeks. In the coming days, moderate to heavy precipitation is expected, while the Great Plains, Southeast and Pacific Northwest can expect modest rainfall.
Here's a look at the U.S. Drought Monitor map for this week (top) as a comparison to last week (bottom).
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