April showers brought improved drought conditions to a large swatch of the nation’s midsection and helped drop drought levels across the contiguous United States below 50 percent for the first time in 10 months.
The latest Drought Monitor, released on Thursday, showed that 47.82 percent of the country is in moderate or worse drought. This is 3 percentage points below last week’s report and 13 percentage points below levles reported on Jan. 1.
Improving conditions were also noted across the Great Plains.
- Nebraska: After weeks of welcomed rain, just 8 percent of Nebraska was reported in exceptional drought. Eighty-three percent of the state remains in extreme drought, but progress is being made in quenching the drought in the Cornhusker State thanks to a wetter weather pattern.
- Kansas: Shifting drought conditions in the Sunflower State were seen, primarily in the eastern half of the state were even a sliver of abnormally dry conditions were reported. Seventeen percent of Kansas is in exceptional drought, unchanged from last week. However, 45 percent was reported in extreme drought, down from 47 percent last week.
- South Dakota: For the first time since early September, South Dakota is free from exceptional drought. Snow helped significantly dent the drought, leaving 70 percent in moderate or worse drought, down from 86 percent last week.
Not all states were as lucky, however. Drought in Texas and Colorado are refusing to budge. In Colorado late-season snow did little to impact exceptional drought in the southeastern part of the state. Texas reported an increase in drought conditions with 35 percent in extreme or worse drought, up from last week’s report of 30 percent.