The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday has much good news for the Southwest and parts of the Southern Plains, while dryness continues to creep into Midwestern territory.
It was a fairly calm week over much of the U.S., with some showers appearing in western Missouri on into the Southern Plains and Texas/Oklahoma panhandles. Significant rains totaling more than 4 inches over southeast Kansas also resulted in a category improvement. Though significant rains were also present in northeast Kansas and Nebraska, long-term deficits prevented overall category improvement.
Monsoon rains brought one-category improvements to many areas of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Farther north, short-term dryness expanded in Wyoming and Oregon. Dryness also expanded in the Dakotas.
Range and pastureland conditions in the area – including California – continue to remain more than 70% very poor to poor; 61% of land is rated very poor to poor in Nevada, according to the USDA.
USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey said much of the region is now entering the third year of drought, though the separation between drought areas and non-drought areas is clear, meaning feed and hay can be more easily brought in from the surrounding states.
Crop conditions, however, appear to be ideal – corn is currently at 71% silking, almost caught up to the five-year average. Condition is 63% good to excellent. Soybeans are also setting pods, but at a slower pace than last year.
Weather is expected to remain cool, with moisture just to the south of the Western Corn Belt. The Central Plains, however, should see some rain in the next few days, Rippey said.
In the 6-10 day window, above normal precipitation is expected over the eastern half of the U.S. with best chances in the Central Plains.