Drought degradations appeared this Drought Monitor week in the Northwest and across Missouri, with pockets also covering Pennsylvania and some Eastern states.
About 55.8% of the contiguous U.S. is in some form of drought or dryness currently, compared to 53.3% last week and 50.7% one year ago. About 3.4% is in the most extreme rating, compared to 3.4% last week and 4.5% one year ago.
In the Northeast, last week brought continued dryness coupled with warmer temperatures, and an expansion of D0 across southeastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, eastern New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut was noted. Water supply and soil moisture conditions are generally in good shape, drought map author Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center said, given the short-term nature of the dryness.
The Southeast saw a drier and cooler pattern last week, with the only heavy rains falling in the D0-D1 area in southern Florida. This led to some slight adjustments for the better to the D0-D1 there, but lingering seasonal dryness means the D0-D1 hasn't been totally eradicated. Expansion of D0 is noted this week in southern and southwestern Alabama, with D0 edging over into extreme eastern Mississippi and into a portion of the northwestern Florida Panhandle.
In the Midwest, all but portions of Iowa, Illinois and northwestern Missouri saw a dry week and all but Indiana and portions of southern Missouri and Illinois recorded above-normal temperatures.
As a result of the dryness, D0 receded in eastern Iowa and expanded in northwestern Iowa. Expansion of D0 spilled out into central Missouri as well this week, where year-to-date rainfall is sitting at only 50-70% of normal, Svoboda wrote.
Minnesota is especially dry, and D1-D2 expanded in the central part of the state up through the Eastern third. As the dry spring persists there, concerns continue with regards to the lack of soil moisture recharge, along with already-low streamflow and lower lake levels being reported virtually statewide.
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The best of this week's rains fell outside most of the primary drought areas in the Plains, but some beneficial rains helped to continue the recovery process across parts of Kansas, western Oklahoma and western Texas, Svoboda reported.
The lack of rainfall in South Dakota means D2 has advanced westward toward the Black Hills. While this has provided favorable planting conditions, it has also led to an early stress on range and pasture conditions across much of the northern Plains.
Other changes are shown in western Oklahoma and north and northwestern Texas, including the Panhandle; a reduction of D1-D3 this week is based on the favorable short-term pattern and prospects for future rains looking quite promising over the next week.
On the heels of last week's favorable rains in eastern New Mexico, more modest rains, but rain nonetheless, fell again across eastern New Mexico, helping to continue pushing back the D0-D2 conditions found in the northeastern corner of the state.
To the west of New Mexico, Arizona's relatively favorable short-term precipitation led to the removal of the small D3 area found in the southeastern corner of the state.
The situation continues to deteriorate across northern California and Oregon, however. This is reflected by a slight expansion of D1-D2 to the west in extreme northwest California and extreme southwest Oregon. The northwest corner of Oregon also sees a bump downward this week with an expansion of D2 there.
Idaho has also taken a turn for the worse as the wet season winds down, with expansions of D0 across the Panhandle and central regions and of D1 in the west-central region of the state.
Source: Mark Svoboda, 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.