According to the November 2, 2021, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 40.0% of the United States including Puerto Rico, an increase from last week’s 39.6%. The worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) decreased from last week’s 16.0% to 15.0%.
A strong upper-level low pressure system slowly moved across the contiguous United States this week. Potent cold fronts and surface lows associated with this system spread above-normal precipitation across parts of the central to northern Plains, Midwest, Appalachian chain to Northeast, and central to eastern Gulf of Mexico coast. Clouds, rain, and cold air behind the fronts gave the Middle Mississippi Valley to Southeast below-normal temperatures for the week.
Pacific fronts brought above-normal precipitation to parts of the Pacific Northwest, but most of the West was drier and warmer than normal beneath upper-level ridging. The northern Plains to Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states were also warmer than normal for the week, while much of the Great Lakes, southern Plains, and coastal Carolinas also had a drier-than-normal week.
Drought contracted or was reduced in intensity in parts of the Plains, Mid- to Upper Mississippi Valley, Northeast, and Pacific Northwest to central Rockies, but expanded or intensified in the southern Plains, western Great Lakes, and Carolinas. Overall, expansion exceeded contraction, with the nationwide moderate to exceptional drought area increasing this week.
Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 112million people across the United States including Puerto Rico—about 36.2% of the population.
In addition to Drought.gov, you can find further information on the current drought as well as on this week’s Drought Monitor update at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
The most recent U.S. Drought Outlook is available from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information about the drought’s influence on crops and livestock.