Though inundating rains lifted the drought the heartland over the last six weeks, it came too late to save winter wheat.

According to the latest Drought Monitor report, drought that once ranged from North Dakota to Texas is now relatively non-existent. Pockets of exceptional dryness (D0) or moderate drought (D1) still dot the region, though conditions are much greener – and wetter – than reported three months ago in March:

Chart 1: Plains states in D0-D4 drought

State

Drought Monitor as of

 

June 9, 2015

March 10, 2015

 

--percent--

Iowa

0.30

23.15

Kansas

23.11

92.92

Minnesota

21.09

99.97

Missouri

0.00

13.10

Oklahoma

5.53

97.83

South Dakota

19.67

69.39

Texas

7.93

57.85

A look at the Drought Monitor’s Class Change map clearly illustrates the changes seen in drought on the Plains over the last month alone:

How much rain did it take to bring these locations out of drought? The National Weather Service shows rain totals ranged from 2 inches to more than 10 inches in the region. However, as USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey explained in an update here, a reduction in the drought’s footprint didn’t come soon enough for the winter wheat crop.  

“May rainfall arrived too late to reverse the impacts of a harsh winter, leaving roughly one-third of the crop in very poor to poor condition by May 31 in South Dakota (37 percent), Nebraska (32 percent), and Kansas (29 percent),” Rippey wrote.

Further to the west, conditions aren’t as positive. Easing drought conditions across western Washington and Oregon seen in March are now worsening with the recent weather pattern. California, after seeing minor improvements over the last three months, reports an increase in extreme or worse drought conditions.

Click here to read the full Drought Monitor report.