The most recent drought monitor continues to show a robust drought across the Plains and interior sections of the West. Two thirds of the nation is in some stage of dryness, with 52 percent of the nation dealing with some level of drought. A year ago at this time, about 38 percent of the nation was in some level of drought...the increase has been most noted across the Plains where conditions went south last summer and they have continued to remain quite dry through the winter.
The spring is a critical time for the middle of the country regarding getting needed rain to help mitigate potential drought conditions. Over the past month, parts of Oklahoma and Kansas have picked up some very needed rain -- along with Nebraska northeast through the Upper Midwest (much of this having fallen as snow). It's still quite dry in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, and North Texas but rainfall and snowfall from another storm system that will impact these areas this week will also help...but it will take more than just a storm system or two to quench these parched soils. At least the trend has been a bit more favorable in the Plains of late...it needs to continue in order to provide a decent crop season and, for us, potentially mitigate the intensity of big time heat later this summer.