Below-normal temps over the last U.S. Drought Monitor week affirm what most farmers are feeling – a restlessness sparked by slow-to-warm soil temps and limited ability to perform fieldwork.
Most areas in the Midwest were 4-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the week, but thunderstorms covered some of the southern portion of the region, leading to several inches of rain and one category improvements.
All of the recently introduced D0 was removed from southern Illinois, notes this week's Drought Monitor author Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center, while the D0 and D1 conditions in central Missouri and western Illinois were improved a full category where the greatest amounts of precipitation were recorded.
Storms also dumped a bit of rain on Arkansas, east Texas, and Louisiana though the remainder of the region was mostly dry. Temperatures remained at or below normal, with departures from normal of 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit through portions of west Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Drought improvements were made in Louisiana and southern Arkansas, stretching into Mississippi and Alabama. Mottled improvements appeared in Texas, but were mostly confined to the eastern portion of the state. In the panhandle, degredations were noted.
As was observed in the Midwest, the plains states are experiencing a delayed spring with cooler than normal temperatures, Fuchs says. This week was not any different, with departures from normal temperatures of 4-6 degrees Fahrenheit quite common.
The region experienced very little precipitation this week. Departures from normal precipitation for the year, Fuchs reports, are starting to reach 4 inches below normal from southern South Dakota into eastern Nebraska as well as eastern and central Kansas.
Drought conditions were expanded in southeast Nebraska and into South Dakota. However, Fuchs expects moisture concerns to diminish as the northern Plains begins to thaw.
Most of the western United States was dry this week, with the heaviest precipitation recorded in areas west of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon.
The warmer than normal conditions also continue for much of the region. In response to continued dryness and also approaching the end of the typical rainy season and snow accumulation seasons, some drought areas were expanded this week, though California was unchanged statewide.
To cope with drought issues, the California Department of Water Resources on Wednesday released a multi-stage Drought Operations Plan for the rest of 2014. The plan will be implemented in close coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board.
In response to the snowpack conditions, which are well above normal, the D0 and D1 conditions were improved upon in the eastern regions of northern Utah.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor