Current Drought Conditions in the United States

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Rebekah Gates

Water Resources Planner

Drought conditions slightly worsened across the United States this past week. The nationwide Drought Severity and Coverage Index (DSCI) increased from 166 to 171 as the total percent coverage of abnormally dry (D0) and moderate (D1) drought conditions increased, while severe (D2), extreme (D3), and exceptional (D4) drought conditions slightly decreased on the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) scale. Most of the rainfall that occurred fell in the eastern United States. Short-term drought increased in the Northeast and Midwest in a few areas, and the High Plains remained the same overall. The trend of expanding drought in the South and Southeast continued this week, with especially dry and hot conditions in Texas and western Oklahoma. The majority of the West continued to experience extreme and exceptional drought conditions, but early Monsoon rains brought some relief to New Mexico and Colorado.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Drought continued to worsen across Texas this week, as extreme temperatures and unusual dryness further exacerbated drought conditions. The state increased from 300 to 307 on the DSCI. Stream flows are approaching drought of record lows in some areas, and the reduced soil moisture is increasing the strain on crops.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Oklahoma slightly increased in drought conditions this week, and central Oklahoma and the panhandle continued to experience moderate to extreme (D1 – D2) drought conditions. Western Oklahoma received some rainfall, however, and saw moderate improvements in exceptional (D4) drought conditions.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Louisiana increased in drought conditions as abnormally dry (D0) drought spread in the northern half of the state and the southern half continued to experience large areas of extreme (D3) drought.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Early Monsoon rains brought sudden drought relief to New Mexico, dropping the state from 440 to 364 on the DSCI this week. While the state remains covered in severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought conditions, the rains brought large improvements to central New Mexico where nearly all exceptional (D4) drought was alleviated. However, the continued dryness has resulted in cricket and grasshopper swarms.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Drought conditions spread in Georgia, as unusual dryness and low precipitation levels resulted in expanding abnormally dry (D0) conditions in the majority of the state, with severe (D2) drought in the southeastern corner.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Drought conditions slightly worsened in Florida overall, although the state received moderate rainfall in the Panhandle, and the abnormally dry (D0) conditions remain constrained to the northern half of the state.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Dryness and hot temperatures in North Carolina led to the expansion of abnormally dry (D0) drought conditions over the western half of the state, and the coastal region deteriorated into severe (D2) drought.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Drought conditions also worsened in Virginia this week despite rainfall, as abnormally dry (D0) conditions spread along the southern border of the state.

(The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.)

Forecast

Over the next week, the eastern seaboard and the Gulf coast are expected to receive rainfall. Heavy rain (upwards of 5 inches) is predicted for southeast Texas and the Louisiana coast. Inland, Pennsylvania, western North Carolina, and parts of the Midwest are forecast to receive rainfall as well. Little to no rainfall is predicted for much of the West, from Arizona and Utah over to California, along with western Texas and Central Oklahoma. To check out the forecast near you, try the NOAA Quantitative Precipitation Forecast map.

Recommended Links

Drought Conditions in Texas and the United States

Reservoir Levels in Texas

Streamflow Conditions in Texas

Drought Restrictions in Texas

Additional Information and Data

Drought Conditions in Texas and the United States

Reservoir Levels in Texas

Streamflow Conditions in Texas

Groundwater Levels in Texas

Drought Restrictions in Texas

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Rebekah Gates is a Water Resource Planner in Houston, Texas.