According to the March 7, 2017, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to extreme drought covers 14.9% of the contiguous United States, an increase from last week’s 14.1%. Areas in extreme drought held steady at around 0.5%. No areas were in exceptional drought, the worst category.
A strong cold front and low pressure system brought precipitation to parts of the eastern United States early during this U.S. Drought Monitor week, while a second one moved across the West and into the Plains at the end of the week. Dry high pressure dominated the country in between these two systems.
Precipitation was above normal across southern Texas, from the Mid-Mississippi Valley to Great Lakes, and across parts of the Northwest to Northern Plains. But, it was drier than normal across the rest of the contiguous United States. An upper-level trough kept temperatures cooler than normal in the West while upper-level ridges brought warmer-than-normal temperatures to the central contiguous United States.
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.