According to the National Drought Monitor, drought covers 55.87% of the contiguous U.S., which is up slightly from 54.96% last week. Expansion in drought was due to the spread of abnormally dry conditions in the Southeast and Northeast, as slight drought improvement was noted across the Plains and Midwest.
For the Midwest, the monitor notes that slight improvement were made in northern sections of the lower peninsula of Michigan, as well as northwest Minnesota along the North Dakota border. For the bulk of the Midwest, a fairly dry, but cool week, did not allow for any degradation this week.
The monitor notes that while it was mainly a dry week across the Plains, some improvements were made in North Dakota and rain at the end of the week benefited southern Kansas. "Some heavy rains on Oct. 26 brought enough precipitation to show some improvements in southeast Oklahoma, the Oklahoma panhandle, eastern Texas and into southwest Arkansas. A category improvement was made over the areas recording the most rain," states the monitor.
In its outlook through November 4, the monitor notes the trend is for a wetter pattern over the eastern half of the United States. "As a strong cold front moves eastward, showers and thunderstorms will develop. The greatest precipitation is expected over the Ark-La-Tex region, with amounts up to 4 inches, and through the Midwest, with amounts of 2-3 inches from Missouri up into the Great Lakes," it states. "Temperatures will be at to slightly above seasonal normal for most of the area east of the Rocky Mountains, with departures of up to 3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. The area to the west will be right at normal to slightly below."