According to the National Drought Monitor, drought have been removed from southeast Nebraska, but northwest Iowa and the rest of Nebraska remain in the drought watch. Overall, the monitor shows 54.98% of the contiguous U.S. still covered by some form of drought, which is around a two-percentage-point improvement from last week and below 64.02% last year at this time.
"In Nebraska, drought conditions eased as widespread rainfall ranging from one to five inches fell over the eastern two-thirds of the state. One-category improvements were made in areas Exceptional Drought (D4), Extreme Drought (D3), Severe Drought (D2), Moderate Drought (D1), and Abnormally Dry (D0)," states the monitor.
The monitor reports that this week saw overall improvements in some drought-stricken areas as significant rain fell across the Great Plains, Midwest and northern interior portions of the West. "In the West, heavy rainfall over the eastern half of Montana and northern Wyoming helped to ease drought conditions. Conditions continued to deteriorate in parts of the Southwest, Great Basin and interior portions of the Pacific Northwest as a result of below-normal precipitation over the winter and spring months," it states. "Overall, temperatures were well above normal in the Southwest while much of the Intermountain West and Pacific Northwest were well below normal. Temperatures were below normal across most of the Great Plains and western portions of the Midwest while the eastern third of the conterminous U.S. experienced temperatures well above average – especially in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region."
In Oklahoma, the monitor notes that heavy rainfall and severe weather continued this week to result in a sharp drought gradient between the eastern and western sections of Oklahoma. "This week, one-category improvements were made in central, north central, and northeast Oklahoma along the eastern edge of the drought boundary," it states.
Meanwhile in Kansas, heavy rainfall in excess of six inches fell over the southeastern portion, leading to one-category improvements in areas of Severe Drought (D2), Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormally Dry (D0). "In south-central Kansas, improvements were made in an area of Extreme Drought (D3). Mirroring Oklahoma, the far western part of Kansas has been much drier with long-term deficits remaining, leading to a slight expansion of Exceptionally Dry (D4)," it states.