This week, most of the western and northern portions of the country recorded below-normal temperatures while most of the south was above normal, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and this week's author Brian Fuchs.
Active weather from the central plains into the Midwest brought above-normal precipitation over much of the region while the dryness intensified over the south and into the Gulf Coast.
About 43.9 % of the contiguous U.S. is in some form of drought or dryness currently, compared to 42.3% last week and 47.2% one year ago. About 3% is in the most extreme rating, compared to 2.8% last week and 3.8% one year ago.
According to Fuchs: Precipitation in the Northeast/ Mid-Atlantic was mixed with most of the region recording below-normal rain this week. With the recent dryness, D0 conditions were expanded to include more of eastern New York, northern New Jersey, and most of Connecticut.
Precipitation in the Southeast was spotty; those areas where rain fell had above-normal readings for the week. Dryness continued along the Atlantic coast and into the Carolinas as well as in central Mississippi, western Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Dryness continued over south Florida with D0 pushed to the west this week.
Improvements to D0 and D1 conditions were made in central and southern Georgia where the greatest rains fell. In western North Carolina, D0 and D1 conditions were expanded westward as locally dry conditions and impacts started to develop. In northern Alabama, D0 was improved, while in Mississippi, D0 was expanded and D1 introduced in response to a rapidly developing "flash drought" situation.
Areas of thunderstorms in the Midwest produced above-normal precipitation over portions of southern Missouri, southern Illinois, Kentucky, northern Wisconsin, northern and central Minnesota, southern Indiana and Ohio.
Areas of southwest Wisconsin continue to miss out on precipitation, leading to agricultural impacts in the region which resulted in a new area of D1 this week. In southern Michigan, D0 was removed this week while D0 was expanded in portions of northern Michigan and in the Upper Peninsula. Eastern Wisconsin also received enough rain to show removal of D0 conditions.
Above-normal precipitation in the High Plains was confined mainly to portions of northern and eastern Kansas, western and central Nebraska, western and eastern South Dakota and western North Dakota, with departures of up to 3 inches above normal observed over north central Kansas.
With the cooler conditions and recent rains, D0 was removed from most of Nebraska and northwest Kansas with D1 improving in Kansas as well. In the Dakotas, D0 was removed from southeast North Dakota and northeast South Dakota as well as north central South Dakota.
The remaining D0 in east central South Dakota was shifted to include more of the agricultural areas west of Sioux Falls.
Most of the South was dry for the week, with only portions of northern Arkansas and northern Mississippi recording above-normal precipitation. Some areas of southern Louisiana were 3 inches below normal for the week. With the hot and dry conditions, rapidly developing impacts were being reported over much of the region. Most areas of east Texas, Louisiana, southeast Oklahoma, and southern Arkansas showed a full category degradation for this week.
In the Southwest, monsoonal moisture continued to push into the southwest and into portions of Utah and Nevada. Some areas of Arizona were 2 inches above normal precipitation for this week.
With the scattered rains, improvements were made to the D2 in southern California as the last several monsoons have been beneficial to this region and precipitation values are near normal over the last 3 years. Improvements were also made in northeast Utah where D1 improved to D0 this week.
Continuing on the improvements started last week over northern Nevada, D2 conditions were pushed to the west, improving the D3. Nevada also showed the return of D4 in the west central portion of the state. The earlier rains in the region that allowed for D3 have since subsided and the impacts are again present, especially in the agriculture and ranching communities, allowing for D4 to expand this week.
In Washington and Oregon, D3 conditions were pushed to the west as low flows on rivers and streams and warm water temperatures are impacting the region. In Idaho, D3 was expanded in the northern portion of the state where conditions continue to worsen, while some improvement to D2 was shown in the southeast as recent rains helped the region.
Source: Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center/The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a 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.