Last week’s deluge benefited some areas in the Corn Belt, but for others, especially those in the Southwest, no relief from the oppressive drought is in the forecast.
According to the latest Drought Monitor report, 44 percent of the country is in moderate or worse drought, down slightly from last week’s report. Intense drought still dominates in the Southwest.
- Nebraska has come a long way since January when 77 percent of the state was covered in exceptional drought. Now, after a snowy winter and wet spring, this percentage has been scaled down to 4. Overall, most of the state has seen vast improvements in drought, but there is still a long way to go. Many western counties are in extreme or worse drought, though the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook expects some improvement in this area by the end of August.
- Kansas was considered part of the “Great American Desert” by early settlers, and with dry conditions continuing to expand west of Interstate 35, it’s easy to see why. Rains virtually eliminated the drought in the eastern half, but what showers have gone through the state have stayed primarily away from the west. As a result, 45 percent of the state – all in western counties – is in extreme or exceptional drought.
- Colorado’s drought conditions have spent the past several weeks unchanged. Around one-quarter of the state, primarily in the southeastern corner, remain in extreme or worse drought. While it is certainly improved from late-February when half of the state was reported in these conditions, more than a year has passed since the state has been free from this intense drought.
- New Mexico is by far the direst state in the country. With 82 percent in extreme or exceptional drought, few states come close to matching the dryness affecting the state. Since Jan. 1, New Mexico has reported less than 2.5 inches of rainfall. The summer monsoon may not even bring enough moisture to quench the drought – some models show a slight tilt toward below-median rains in eastern areas of the Southwest, including New Mexico and west Texas.
- Oklahoma, especially central and eastern parts of the state, paid dearly for their drought-eliminating rains. The last 30 days brought up to 10 inches of rain – and two EF-5 tornadoes – to those in the middle of the Sooner State. Less than one-half inch has fallen during this same time frame in the Panhandle, worsening the dry conditions. Forty-one percent of the state is in moderate or worse drought, improved from last week’s report of 48 percent.
- Texas, like Oklahoma, may have endured numerous springtime storms, but these storms have bypassed the areas needed it most: the Panhandle. One-third of the state is in extreme or worse drought – primarily located in the Panhandle and along the Mexican border. If the Drought Outlook is any indication, it’s going to be a long, dry summer for the Lone Star State.