According to the April 26, 2022, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 45.4% of the United States including Puerto Rico, a decrease from last week’s 46.4%. The worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) decreased from 16.9% last week to 16.5%.
A couple of potent Pacific weather systems traversed the contiguous United States (CONUS) during this USDM week (April 20-26), with a third moving into the West as the week ended. They moved through a jet stream pattern that favored upper-level troughs over the western United States and ridging over the East Coast. The surface lows and fronts associated with the Pacific systems spread rain and snow across the central Rockies to northern Plains and parts of California to the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest, and brought rain to parts of the Great Lakes as well as the southern Plains to Mid-Mississippi Valley. Conditions were drier than normal for the week for much of the Four Corners States to central Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley to Southeast, and Tennessee Valley to Northeast, and parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Temperatures averaged below normal across much of the West beneath the upper-level trough, in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest in association with a strong winter storm, and across New England. Temperatures averaged warmer than normal across the southern to central Plains and Ohio Valley to Mid-Atlantic Coast. Drought or abnormal dryness contracted or decreased in intensity in parts of the Pacific Northwest, northern and southern Plains, and Upper Mississippi Valley. Drought or abnormal dryness expanded or intensified across parts of the Southwest, central and southern Plains, and Southeast, and abnormal dryness was introduced in southwest Alaska. Contraction exceeded expansion, with the nationwide moderate to exceptional drought area decreasing this week.
Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 131 million people across the United States including Puerto Rico—about 42.2% 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.