Drought Monitor map, released on May 9, 2013. Rain and snow over the past several weeks have helped beat the drought into remission across much of the Corn Belt, but as 48 percent of the country remains in moderate or worse drought, more states brace for another year of drought.
In the thirsty heartland, in particular, some states are split between improving and worsening drought.
According to the latest Drought Monitor report, 23 percent of Kansas and 9 percent of Oklahoma remains under exceptional drought. The spread of this drought in both states has been doused with welcomed rain and even been eliminated in some eastern counties.
In the western half of these states, however, the Drought Monitor tells a different story. Rain bypassed western Oklahoma and Kansas, leaving these areas in extreme or worse drought.
Further to the west and south, the Drought Monitor paints a grim picture. Intense drought is returning to Texas, New Mexico and Colorado as it creeps its way further west. Conditions in New Mexico, in particular, have declined dramatically over the last month. In early April, 4 percent of the state was in exceptional drought -- this week, that number stands at 40 percent.
However, residents in these parched states have turned the pressure of drought into a resurgence of faith. The Associated Press reports that the tension from three years of hot, dry weather has pushed more people to turn to religion. From Christian preachers and Catholic priests to American Indiana Tribes, more and more are turning to faith because, as active church member pointed, “praying can’t hurt.”
The impending drought in the west has also prompted officials in Oregon, a state better known for its wet weather, to warn that irrigation will likely have to be shut off to many of the 200 farms and ranches in the upper Klamath Basin. Read more here.