According to the National Drought Monitor, drought covers 57.77% of the contiguous U.S., which is down from 60.43% last week. The High Plains saw significant drought improvement, with 38.88% of the region now drought-free, compared to 29.87% last week. But Kansas contributed only slightly to that improvement, as 51.66% of the state remains covered by some form of drought, which compares to 53.86% last week.
"Large areas of one-category improvement and a couple small areas of two-category improvement (most notably near the Black Hills) were brought into Wyoming, northern Nebraska, South Dakota, eastern North Dakota, southern Minnesota, Iowa and portions of Illinois and Wisconsin," states the monitor.
"In the northwestern Plains and adjacent Rockies, surplus precipitation dates back at least to the beginning of the calendar year. However, even though some areas received heavy precipitation this week, 60-day totals remained 3 to locally 8 inches below normal in most areas from south-central Oklahoma northeastward across southeastern Kansas, central and northern Missouri, central and western Illinois, central and southeastern Iowa, and portions of central Minnesota and western Wisconsin."
The monitor notes that 30-day precip amounts were below-normal across western Texas, but in the central High Plains, above-normal precipitation exists on time scales dating back at least 90 days. "As a result, small areas in western Texas deteriorated, but most of the region remained unchanged despite the dry week," it states.
In its outlook for October 9-13, the monitor notes a slowly-moving coastal storm is expected to drop heavy rain on much of the mid-Atlantic and lower Northeast. "More than 1.5 inches is expected from extreme southeastern New York and northeastern Pennsylvania southward through northern and eastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, with amounts approaching 4 inches along the immediate East Coast. Farther west, another round of heavy precipitation could be in store for the western Dakotas and adjacent areas, where 1 to 2 inches are anticipated. Similar amounts are expected in central and northeast Texas. Generally moderate precipitation of at least 0.5 inch is forecast for the central Rockies and in northwestern and southeastern portions of the Plains, including the western lower Mississippi Valley. Across other areas from the Rockies westward, only a few tenths of an inch of precipitation is expected, with little or none forecast along the extreme southern tier and in the central Pacific Coast," it states.
For October 14-18, the monitor says the odds favor above-normal precipitation across a large swath from Wyoming and South Dakota southward through the High Plains and eastward to the Atlantic Seaboard, except in Florida and the adjacent Southeast. "The likelihood of above-normal precipitation is highest across the central and southern Plains. In contrast, below-normal amounts are favored in the northern Intermountain West and along the northern half of the Far West. In Alaska, enhanced chances for above-normal precipitation exist statewide," it adds.