According to the July 4, 2017, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to extreme drought covers 8.5% of the contiguous United States, an increase from last week’s 8.0%. Extreme drought also expanded to cover over 1.4% of the Lower 48, up from 1.0% last week. But, exceptional drought—the worst category—continued to remain absent for the 24th consecutive week.
An upper-level high pressure ridge dominated the West this U.S. Drought Monitor week, keeping the weather dry and warmer than normal. Upper-level weather systems moving through the ridge intensified as they dropped into an upper-level trough over the eastern United States.
Surface lows and cold fronts associated with these weather systems brought below-normal temperatures to most of the central and eastern contiguous United States along with areas of rain. Above-normal rainfall contracted drought and abnormal dryness in parts of the Southern Plains and Southeast, while continued warmer- and drier-than-normal weather prompted expansion of drought and abnormal dryness in parts of the Northern Plains and West.
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.