Drought Monitor map released on April 11, 2013.
Drought Monitor map released on April 11, 2013.

April showers don’t just bring May flowers – they also bring welcomed relief to replenish soil left parched by the relentless drought. Is this wetter weather pattern here to stay?

Currently, 50.8 percent of the contiguous United States is in moderate or worse drought, down from 51.92 last week. According to Drought Monitor archives, it has been nearly 10 months since the nation’s drought conditions have slipped below 51 percent.

Drought conditions improved significantly over much of the Plains, even before the mid-week storms that brought snow, rain and storms. Nebraska, in particular, reported substantial progress in quenching the drought:






This week





Last week





This week’s report marks the biggest improvement ever reported for exceptional conditions in Nebraska since the Drought Monitor’s 13-year history.

Wetter weather helped shrink the drought in other locations too, including Kansas and South Dakota. Even Oklahoma and Texas saw slight improvements in the drought conditions. Click here to see how your state is doing.  

In the latest Seasonal Drought Outlook, released on April 4, experts are forecasting the drought to leave most of the Plains states by the end of June as the drought pushes further into Texas and to the west.

But are the tides really turning for the Plains? Last year, forecasters missed cues that the drought and heat waves would target the nation’s heartland, and this year they are learning from their mistakes. Many reports – from forecasting groups to the federal government – believe that a wet spring isn’t going to translate into a wet summer. WeatherBug went as far to issue a forecast that echoes last year’s historic summer conditions. Read more.