Modest Drought Improvement
Drought conditions persist in many areas of the U.S., especially in the far west, southwest and in the Southern Plains. However, if we take a look at drought conditions a year ago from this week we find that there has been some modest improvement in many areas. In addition to some small improvements in some areas the outlook is favorable over the coming weeks and months for more rainfall in some areas.
The image below shows the drought status as of June 11, 2013. One year ago most of the High Plains and west were under drought conditions with the hardest hit areas being Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and other portions of the Rockies and far west. Some drought also extended as far north as the Dakotas. The drought conditions experienced in 2013 began in 2012 when a cool Pacific led to drier conditions in the far west, Rockies and Southern Plains. Drought was beginning to get more entrenched across California a year ago.
Drought Status as of 6/11/2013
A year later we can see that conditions have improved in many areas, while drought conditions have become more severe in others.
Drought Status as of 6/10/2014
While there is still a lot of real estate in drought, there has been some shrinkage as compared to a year ago. The northern areas of the drought have pulled back, especially in Nebraska. Recent rains in May and early June across Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico have put some small dents in the drought as well.
One area that continues to suffer is California. There is help on the way for California and portions of the southwest later this year (mostly this fall and winter), however, until then rainfall (with the exception of the summer thunderstorms in the Southwest) will be hard to come by.
For the rest of June, expect good chances for more rainfall in the plains, especially in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. Those states have a good chance of seeing more improvement this summer.
For the Midwest, Corn Belt, east and southeastern areas of the U.S., precipitation is expected to remain at a normal pace this summer.