According to the National Drought Monitor, 52.38% of the contiguous U.S. is covered by some form of drought, which reflects a two-percentage-point increase from last week. Drought increased by around eight percentage points from last week across the South to cover 68.88% of the region.
"Dry conditions persisted across most of the southern Great Plains and Lower Mississippi River Valley. The temperatures were generally below normal (1 – 4 deg F) for the week, which still means warm across that portion of the lower 48 states. Accordingly, the coverage of drought conditions was increased across the Southern Great Plains. D0 was expanded to cover much of Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana, supported by SPI-3 (Standardized Precipitation Index over 3 months) values. In a reassessment of conditions over Arkansas, a 2-category degradation (introduction of D1, moderate drought, where no drought was indicated in the previous map) was included as SPI-3, SPI6, and USGS (United States Geological Survey) real-time, 7-, and 14-day stream flows all indicated a rapid drying of the area." states the monitor.
Drought also intensified across Oklahoma and Texas. "The impacts from the ongoing drought are becoming more intense as the drought lingers. For instance, the Brazosport Water Authority implemented Stage 3 of its Drought Contingency Plan. Inflows into the Lower Colorado River have trickled down to 10 cfs (from the Llano River) with Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan at 35 and 37 percent of capacity, respectively. Medina Lake, near San Antonio is down to 5 percent capacity. Farther north and west, across Oklahoma and southeastern Colorado, reports indicate sage brush and large trees dying and even some cacti turning brown. These reports come from the areas that have been in D4 (exceptional drought) for quite some time. The percent of topsoil reports as short or very short from the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) across Texas increased by 13 percentage point, while it increased by 25 percentage points across Oklahoma. Some drought expansion was also introduced across Kansas, where topsoil moisture reports indicated an increase of 38 percentage points for the portion of reports indicating short or very short moisture amounts," it adds.
The next 6 days (July 10-15) favor wet weather across most of the eastern half of the nation, east of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, with heavy rains forecast from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic. "Some rains associated with the North American Monsoon are also likely during the next 5 days across Arizona and Colorado, largely bypassing New Mexico. Generally, less than 1.0 inches of rain is forecast across the area from Texas to Illinois, California, and the Pacific Northwest," states the monitor.