Current Drought Conditions in the United States

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Rebekah Gates

Water Resources Planner

Drought conditions slightly improved across the United States this week as the nationwide Drought Severity and Coverage Index (DSCI) dropped from 176 last week to 174 this week, as the percent area covered by moderate (D1), severe (D2), extreme (D3), and exceptional (D4) drought conditions all decreased, and abnormally dry (D0) drought conditions slightly increased on the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) scale. Heavy rainfall alleviated some of the long-lingering drought in the High Plains, particularly in the Dakotas and Minnesota, however, the rest of the upper Midwest experienced significantly higher than average temperatures this week, with some 10°F anomalies. The storm-system from the High Plains moved over to the Rockies in the Southern Plains, leaving several inches of rain and category-1 drought condition improvements in its wake. More rain will be needed in the West in order to restore stream flows and soil moisture, due to the long-term effects of harsh 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 continued to worsen in Texas this week, as the majority of the state received little precipitation and temperatures were above normal. High, hot winds were prevalent as well, increasing evaporation and exacerbating drought conditions. D0 and D1 conditions spread across northwest, central, and southern Texas. Northwest Texas and the Big Bend region saw a large increase in D1 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.)

Oklahoma received abundant rainfall this past week, improving drought conditions state-wide. Some areas received 2 – 3 inches of rain which helped alleviate extreme drought (D3) conditions in central Oklahoma, however, the state remains almost entirely covered in drought, with expansive D1 and D2 conditions in some areas.

(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.)

Minimal scattered showers occurred across Louisiana this week, and abnormally dry (D0) drought conditions developed in the northwest corner, near the Texas border.

(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.)

Northern and northwest New Mexico saw moderate rainfall this week which brought large improvements in D3 drought conditions. Drought increased in the state overall however due to hotter than normal temperatures in the southern 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.)

Despite increased temperatures in Georgia and minimal precipitation, the state continued to remain free of drought conditions this week.

(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.)

Florida continued to remain free of drought conditions as well this week, although the state received minimal precipitation.

(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.)

Southern North Carolina saw an expansion in D0 drought conditions this week as the state missed out on the generous precipitation the rest of the region received. The entire eastern half of the state is undergoing 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.)

Forecast

Most of the US is predicted to receive little precipitation this upcoming week. The exception to this is the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, from Washington’s coast down through Oregon and stopping around the San Francisco area, which is forecast to receive up to 3 inches of rainfall in some places. Wyoming and parts of the Midwest are predicted to receive some rainfall as well, and light showers are forecast for the Southeast and South. 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.