According to the National Drought Monitor, 51.33% of the contiguous U.S. is covered by some form of drought, which is around a two-percentage-point improvement from last week. Drought was removed from western Iowa and southwest Minnesota, but it's stronghold on the western half of the country remains.
The monitor notes that heavy rains brought substantial improvements to Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. "D1 has been removed from southwest Minnesota and D0 has been reduced as a result, leaving the only drought in the state confined to the Red Lake region in the northwest. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were also reduced in northwestern Iowa on the heels of recent improvements," it notes.
The monitor also reflects improvement across the Northern Plains. It states that generous rains led to one-category improvements across South Dakota, but notes the western half of the state still need more precip to recover from drought fully.
In the southern Plains, the monitor notes that Oklahoma dried out a bit this week and the rains that did fall were not enough to warrant improvement in the Panhandle. "With the increasing temperatures, D4 nudges slightly north in western Oklahoma. Texas sees a second consecutive week of several changes, mostly for the worse as things continue to warm up (4-8F above-normal) and dry out save for spotty convective thunderstorm activity, which continues to bring some relief to some," it notes. "As a result, southern and southeastern Texas see an expansion of drought this week while extreme northeastern Texas sees a reduction of D0/D1 along with northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas this week. The Texas Panhandle sees some shifting around of D3/D4, with most cases reflecting relative improvement given the recent rains. Western Texas sees some slight improvements to their drought situation this week as well."
In its outlook to July 1, the monitor notes the forecast shows the best chances for precipitation east of the Mississippi River, with the heaviest rains possible in the Ohio Valley and Northeast as well as the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast, where 2-3 inches or more could fall. "West of the Mississippi, prospects look much bleaker with only modest rains being forecasted. Temperatures over this same period look to be seasonable or even below normal over the eastern third of the country in combination with the forecasted rains. The same can’t be said for the West, where temperatures will build in concert with the high pressure ridging there, bringing the prospects of well above normal readings (in the 6-13 degree range) in California, the Intermountain West, the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies," it states.