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U.S. Drought: Weekly Report for April 23, 2024

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According to the April 23, 2024 U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), moderate to exceptional drought covers 15.1% of the United States including Puerto Rico, a slight increase from last week’s 15.0%. The worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) decreased from 0.9% last week to 0.7%.

The upper-level circulation across North America during this U.S. Drought Monitor week (April 17–23) consisted of a strong ridge of high pressure over western Canada and a trough of low pressure over eastern Canada. The ridge extended southward along the west coast of the contiguous U.S., with a flat westerly flow dominating most of the CONUS. Little to no precipitation fell over the western CONUS due to the ridge and westerly flow, with warmer-than-normal temperatures dominating the Southwest. 

Pacific weather systems traversed the U.S.-Canadian border then moved southward into the eastern CONUS, dragging cold fronts that gave the Northwest and Great Plains a mostly cooler-than-normal week. The fronts and their surface low-pressure systems spread above-normal precipitation across parts of the southern Plains, Upper Midwest, and over a few areas in the Southeast, but most of the contiguous U.S. had a drier-than-normal week. 

Alaska and Hawaii were mostly drier than normal, while Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had a wetter-than-normal week. Drought or abnormal dryness expanded or intensified in parts of the Pacific Northwest, Plains, and Tennessee Valley to North Carolina. Precipitation contracted or reduced the intensity of drought or abnormal dryness in the Midwest and Puerto Rico, while a reassessment due to beneficial precipitation since the first of the year improved conditions in parts of the Southwest. 

Nationally, expansion slightly exceeded contraction, so the nationwide moderate to exceptional drought area increased this week.

Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 52 million people across the United States including Puerto Rico—about 16.7% of the population.

U.S. Drought Monitor map for April 23, 2024.

The full U.S. Drought Monitor weekly update is available from

In addition to, you can find further information on the current drought on this week’s Drought Monitor update at the National Drought Mitigation Center

The most recent U.S. Drought Outlook is available from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agriculture Outlook Board also provides information about the drought’s influence on crops and livestock

For additional drought information, follow #DroughtMonitor on Facebook and X