According to the August 14, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 30.7% of the United States, an increase from last week’s 30.2%. Extreme and exceptional drought—the worst categories—contracted to cover 6.8% of the nation, down from 7.5% last week.
A high pressure ridge in the jet stream flow kept the West warmer than normal and quite dry during the week. A trough in the East with its surface lows and fronts brought above-normal rain to parts of the southern Plains, Midwest, and Southeast to Northeast.
Above-normal precipitation fell across southern Arizona, courtesy of the summer monsoon, while the monsoon under-performed across the rest of the Southwest this week. Temperatures were warmer than normal with little rainfall across the northern Plains to Great Lakes.
The week ended with a cutoff closed low meandering across the southern Plains and moving into the central Plains, leaving heavy rain and below-normal temperatures in its wake. The continued dryness in the West, Midwest, and northern Plains expanded drought and abnormal dryness, while the rains in the South reduced drought intensity and/or area.
Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 132 million people across the United States—about 42.6% of the country’s 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. 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.