Drought Monitor map, released on Feb. 21, 2013
Drought Monitor map, released on Feb. 21, 2013

The drought is still gnawing on the nation’s midsection, but a wet winter storm has brought renewed hope to the region. Thursday’s massive snowstorm came too late to be included in this week’s Drought Monitor report, but its impact will likely finally show improvement in the drought on the Plains.

Currently 55.82 percent of the continental United States is in moderate or worse drought, up minimally from last week’s report of 55.73 percent.

Another fairly dry week last week didn’t do the Plains any favors. Seventy-five percent of the state of Kansas is in extreme to exceptional drought, and 77 percent of Nebraska is in exceptional drought. Both states have struggled against intense dryness over the last several months, making it difficult for wet systems to fully soak the area.

Other states with a high percentage of exceptional drought include Oklahoma (42 percent) and South Dakota (30 percent).  Drought conditions are also growing in Texas, Colorado and Wyoming.

See how your state is doing here.

Thursday’s snowstorm and another wet system forecast for the region early next week should help ease drought conditions as reported in upcoming issues of the Drought Monitor.

Long-term drought prospects aren’t improving for most of the central and southern Plains. In the Seasonal Drought Outlook, drought is forecast to remain in the hardest-hit areas of the nation – Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. Read more here.