Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas during the latest Drought Monitor week saw significant precipitation, with portions of southeast Nebraska recording nearly 10 inches of rain, with a swath of 6-8 inches from north central Kansas into southeast Nebraska.
The rain drenched some winter wheat crops, a contrast to the moisture deficit concerns that were noted in last week's Kansas wheat tour.
Many areas in the western half of the U.S. received 200-400% of normal precipitation for the week, drought map authors Mark Svoboda and Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center said.
About 55.8% of the contiguous U.S. is in some form of drought or dryness currently, compared to 55.8% last week and 48.8% one year ago. About 3.1% is in the most extreme rating, compared to 3.4% last week and 4.5% one year ago.
In the Northeast, warm conditions dominated, helping to finally bring spring conditions to the area. Dry conditions were noted across the region, with only some of the northern extent of the region recording up to 1.50 inches of precipitation.
Changes made this week included D0 being expanded across all of New England and southeastern Pennsylvania. D0 was also expanded across northern Maryland and northern New Jersey.
A warm and fairly dry week was observed over most of the Southeast; The region was below normal for precipitation except those areas along the coastal Carolinas that received 2-6 inches of rain associated with tropical storm Ana.
D0 was expanded across southern Georgia and into extreme northeast Florida as well as southern and northeast Alabama. A new area of D0 was introduced into central Tennessee and northwest Alabama.
Warmer than normal temperatures dominated the Midwest, outside of Minnesota. Precipitation was below normal over the eastern portions of the region while portions of Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, western Wisconsin, and Minnesota were up to 4 inches above normal precipitation for the week.
See the drought map comparison and continue reading >>
Changes made this week included an expansion of D0 across northern Ohio, northern Indiana and northern Michigan. In response to recent rains, some improvement was shown to the D0 and D1 regions of northwest Iowa as well as a full category improvement over all of western Minnesota.
In the Great Plains, torrential rains and severe weather dominated. The widespread 2-4 inch readings across South Dakota resulted in one-category improvement to the D2 and D1 conditions in the state. Much of the precipitation which did occur was snow. Snow amounts ranged from 12 inches in the plains of South Dakota to 16 inches in the Black Hills while portions of western Nebraska had up to 24 inches of snow.
The improvements extended into North Dakota where D1 was improved in the southeast part of the state, while D0 was expanded over the northern and northwest portions of the state. There was a slight trimming of D1 and D0 conditions over Nebraska where the rains were enough to show improvements.
The recent rains allowed for a large-scale one-category improvement across southern Kansas and parts of southwest and west central Kansas. A small area of D2 was introduced into northwest Kansas where the recent rains have not been as substantial and conditions are worsening.
In Oklahoma and Texas, large-scale 1-2 category improvements were made after copious rains of 6-10 inches or more were recorded. Most areas in Texas and Oklahoma were good out to 24 months, but some residual dryness was still evident at 36 months.
Cooler than normal temperatures along with scattered precipitation through the West this week allowed for some changes. The D0 in Montana was connected to the areas of D0 in the Dakotas.
After another good week of rains and cooler temperatures, D0-D2 conditions improved in southeast Colorado. In west central Colorado, D2 was improved as well. Western Wyoming saw a large expansion of D0 while eastern Wyoming had improvements to D0.
Source: Mark Svoboda and Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center/ The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.