According to the National Drought Monitor, drought covers 55.12% of the contiguous U.S., which is down marginally from 55.87% last week. Widespread improvements across the Midwest and South were reported, while only modest precip was seen across the East.
For the Midwest, the monitor notes wet conditions were observed over northern Missouri, southeastern Iowa and central/northern Illinois where two-to-four inches of rain fell late last week. "One-category improvements were made in areas of Abnormally Dry (D0), Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri where streamflow and soil conditions continued to improve. The Upper Midwest remained unchanged on the map for this week. Overall, temperatures throughout the region were slightly above normal," it states.
In the northern tier of the Plains the monitor notes a generally cool and dry pattern was observed over much of the Dakotas and Nebraska. "Near-normal, short-term precipitation totals led to the removal of a small area of Abnormally Dry (D0) in eastern South Dakota. In the southern tier, eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma received two-to-four inches of rain late last week, but these rains fell in areas currently not experiencing drought. In southwestern Oklahoma, continued dryness led to the expansion of an area of Exceptional Drought (D4) in Harmon County. During the past week, temperatures in the southern tier were slightly above normal," states the monitor.
Meanwhile in the Southern Plains, torrential rains soaked the eastern-third of Texas. "The highest accumulations were observed in East Texas, South Central Texas and the Crossroad region of Louisiana where two-to-twelve inches of rain fell. Heavy rains inundated soils in South Central Texas leading to flash flooding across the region, but provided much needed water to local reservoir systems," states the monitor.
In its seven-day outlook, the monitor says to expect modest precipitation totals (less than 1.5") from eastern Texas through the Mississippi Valley, Upper Midwest and Northeast. "The 6-10 day outlooks call for a high probability of above-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures across the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Northern Rockies. In contrast, above-normal temperatures are expected over the southern half of the United States with the exception of southern California. Above-normal precipitation is also expected across the Great Plains Midwest, and South Florida," it states.