Much-needed rain helped whittle away the remnants of the drought for some Plains states over the last week, but further to the south and west, the drought drags on.  

Drought shrinks to 37 million acres of cornIn this week’s Drought Monitor, many states across the Corn Belt reported easing drought conditions.

Even in states dominated by drought just a few months earlier – such as Colorado and Nebraska – drought is finally receding.  The drought still has a firm grip on much of the nation’s midsection, and while many states have a long way to go before eliminating the drought completely, progress is worth celebrating.

The “Ag in Drought” report shows that 38 percent of corn is growing is going. Given that U.S. producers planted an estimated 97.4 million acres of corn, this suggests that nearly 53.6 million acres of corn are affected by drought.

In Texas conditions are continuing to intensify, and hydrologic impacts linger as the last three years of drought bring the state’s reservoir system associated with the Colorado River down to historic lows.  In the West, many states saw little – if any – improvement for yet another week.

Read the full report here.

Looking ahead, some areas may see much-needed precipitation over the next 10 days.

“The best chances for above-normal precipitation are over the Ohio River Valley and covering much of the eastern two-thirds of the country,” the Drought Monitor report said. “Precipitation chances are trending below normal in the Pacific Northwest.”

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, updated on Oct. 17, expects the areas of drought to shrink even further by the beginning of February.