According to the latest Drought Monitor report released Thursday morning, the West and Plains were mostly drier this week while the south and east saw significant precipitation, resulting in some degradations across Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas.
About 53.9% of the contiguous U.S. is in some form of drought currently, compared to 48.5% one year ago. About 3.2% is in the most extreme drought rating, compared to just 1.6% one year ago.
Precipitation along the East Coast was below normal while temperatures were above normal for much of the area during the past week, drought map author Chris Fenimore said.
Precipitation in Florida and south Alabama measured less than 50% of the normal for the period, exacerbating long term dryness and resulting in an expansion of D0 in some areas.
Recent and long term dryness coupled with much above normal temperatures expanded D0 conditions in much of the Upper Plains. D1 conditions also expanded, occupying most of Minnesota. Soil moisture values in Nebraska are 2-3 inches behind normal.
It was also noted that wheat broke dormancy in a south-central Nebraska area earlier this month. About 100 miles further east, wheat was just beginning to green up.
Drought conditions in Texas were reduced in some areas, while other areas saw intensification this week. D0 and D1 conditions were trimmed back in the Coastal Bend and east Texas. Meanwhile, D2 and D3 conditions were expanded towards the south in central Texas due to the below normal reservoir levels.
In southwest New Mexico, D1 was extended to the north.Continue reading after the jump >>
Precipitation was below normal in the Southeast while temperatures were above normal for much of the area during the past week. Only the eastern sections of the Carolinas saw precipitation totals that exceeded their normal for the period.
Precipitation in Florida and south Alabama measured less than 50% of the normal for the period. This exacerbated the long term dryness, resulting in an expansion of D0 in some areas.
Precipitation did fall along the northern tier of the Western half of the U.S. during the week; however, aside from the highest elevations, temperatures were too warm to support much-needed snowfall.
Degradation was made in Oregon and Utah due to low snowpack amounts that have plagued the west coast this past winter.
Temperatures in Los Angeles reached 90 degrees F for a March record four consecutive days. Washington State also had one of their warmest winters on record, and the average temperature in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona was also record warm this past winter.
Source: Chris Fenimore/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.