According to the April 11, 2017, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to extreme drought covers 8.2% of the contiguous United States, a decrease from last week’s 9.8%. Areas in extreme drought also held steady for a second week at around 0.1%. No areas were in exceptional drought, the worst category.
Upper-level ridges in the jet stream brought warmer-than-normal temperatures to the central to northeastern parts of the contiguous United States during this U.S. Drought Monitor week, along with drier-than-normal weather from the Southwest to Mississippi River Valley. But, the jet stream flow across the North Pacific funneled a series of weather systems into the contiguous United States. The cool fronts and surface lows with these weather systems brought above-normal precipitation and cooler temperatures to parts of the country, especially in the West, Ohio Valley, and East. Much of the rain fell over drought areas in the Plains, Southeast, and Northeast, resulting in contraction of drought and abnormal dryness.
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. See their recent news releases.
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.