According to the March 14, 2017, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to extreme drought covers 15.2% of the contiguous United States, an increase from last week’s 14.9%. Areas in extreme drought held steady at around 0.5% for a third week. No areas were in exceptional drought, the worst category.
Multiple storm systems moved across the contiguous United States this U.S. Drought Monitor week, bringing above-normal precipitation across the Pacific Northwest to Northern Plains, southern Texas, the Mississippi to Tennessee River Valleys, and the eastern Great Lakes to Mid-Atlantic Coast. Frigid arctic air poured across the Plains to Southeast behind cold fronts associated with the low pressure storm systems.
The tracks of the storm systems steered much of the precipitation away from most of New England and the rest of the Great Lakes by the end of this U.S. Drought Monitor week, while an upper-level ridge kept the weather warmer and drier than normal from the Southwest to the Southern and Central Plains.
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’s World Agriculture Outlook Board provides information about the drought’s influence on crops and livestock.