Weather last week was dominated by record-high temps and dry conditions in the West, and stormy conditions from the Northeast into the Midwest, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor update.
The Midwest recorded more than 5 inches of rain, while cooler than normal temperatures prevailed, drought map author Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center said.
Spotty precipitation was common in the southeast, where temperatures were above normal this week; Much of the central plains was dry and warmer than normal into the Dakotas.
About 38.5% of the contiguous U.S. is in some form of drought or dryness currently, compared to 40.1% last week and 44.4% one year ago. About 2.9% is in the most extreme rating, compared to 2.9% last week and 3% one year ago.
See last week's Drought Monitor update.
Most areas in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region were 4-6 degrees below normal for the week and almost all areas received some precipitation as well.
With the wetter trend, improvements were made. D0 conditions improved in Maine while a full category improvement was made in New Hampshire and Vermont. D0 was removed from Pennsylvania and New Jersey while D0 and D1 were improved in both New York and Massachusetts.
Temperatures were warmer than normal over much of the Southeast, with the Carolinas and Florida having the greatest departures of 2-4 degrees above normal for the week.
Comparison of unseasonably rainy June 2015 and flood year of 1993. Illustration by Bryce Knorr.
Spotty rainfall over the region combined with the warm temperatures has allowed for the expansion of drought in northern Alabama, where D1 was expanded over the northern portions of the state and into northwest Georgia.
In southern Georgia, D0 and D1 was expanded this week and D1 migrated out of South Carolina and into southeast Georgia as well. Some improvements were made to the D0 in North Carolina as the eastern extent has received enough precipitation over the last several weeks to warrant improvement.
A wet and cool week over the Midwest brought heavy rain from Iowa to Ohio. The last several weeks have been wet enough to allow improvements over Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Minnesota, Fuchs said.
For Kentucky, a full category improvement was made in the northern, central, and eastern portions of the state. D0 was removed from Indiana and Ohio while the D0 in northern Minnesota was reduced in size. The wet and cool weather has caused numerous planting delays, especially for soybeans.
This was a fairly dry week over the Great Plains, with just spotty precipitation along the foothills in Colorado, the Panhandle of Nebraska, and into southwestern South Dakota as well as west Texas.
Except for the areas that received the most rain, temperatures were above normal in most places with departures of 2-4 degrees above normal, Fuchs said. There were not any changes in the regional drought depiction this week.
Record heat and dryness over the last month has quickly deteriorated conditions in many Western areas after a wet May.
A large degradation of drought in Montana was made this week with a full category change in the areas of western and north central Montana. In Washington, D2 was pushed to the west and D1 was added in the central portion of the state while in Oregon, D2 was expanded in the southwest and in the northeast into Idaho.
Source: Brian Fuchs/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.