According to the June 8, 2021, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 37.8% of the United States including Puerto Rico, an increase from last week’s 36.5%. The worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) increased from 17.5% last week to 17.8%.
The atmospheric circulation over the contiguous United States was dominated by a high-pressure ridge with an upper-level low that became cutoff over the southern Plains. By the end of the week, the axis of the upper-level ridge shifted east while a strong upper-level trough approached the West Coast.
After a remnant frontal band and surface low moved across the South and East early in the week, the storm track and surface fronts stayed to the north near the Canadian border. The upper-level ridge brought warmer- and drier-than-normal weather to much of the country. The cutoff low and remnant front produced above-normal rain across the southern Plains to Ohio Valley, across the coastal Carolinas, and over parts of the Northeast, and below-normal temperatures over the southern Plains.
Drought and abnormal dryness contracted in the Plains and East where beneficial rains fell, but expanded or intensified in the West and north where drier-than-normal weather continued. Expansion exceeded contraction, so the nationwide moderate to exceptional drought area rose this week.
Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 143 million people across the United States including Puerto Rico—about 45.9% 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. 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.