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U.S. drought in retreat

Compared with a year ago, much of cattle country is out of drought’s grip for the first time in quite a while.

April 26, 2019

3 Min Read
U.S. Drought Monitor

It is indeed true that too much of a good thing is not good. That’s been one of the toughest lessons that weather in 2019 has made abundantly clear.

But there’s an upside, in spite of the flooding and destructive storms of the recent past. According to the Water and Climate Update from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water and Climate Center, the U.S. is currently drought-free in 85.9% of the country.

The area in extreme or exceptional drought is 0, the smallest since the U.S. Drought Monitor began in 2000. California has been declared drought-free for the first time since December 2011. 

April 23, 2019 Drought Monitor map

The U.S. had a record wettest six months of any year in 2018, and just had one of the top 10 wettest January – March to start 2019.

RELATED: Spring flood outlook: It's bad and it's gonna get worse

From the current Drought Monitor Summary: “With near to record wetness in many parts of the country this winter and in 2018, the April 16 USDM had the lowest percent of area in drought (D1-D4) for the lower 48 States (3.73%) and all 50 States (3.78%) since the inception of the U.S. Drought Monitor in 2000, surpassing the previous low drought standard of May 23, 2017.

In fact, no dryness/drought (D0-D4) in both the lower 48 (85.88%) and all 50 States (87.06%) also set record low values last week. With more wet weather over D0-D2 areas this week, new USDM record lows will most likely be set

Looking ahead

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor Drought Summary, during the next five days (April 25-29, 2019), two systems are expected to provide precipitation to the lower 48 States. One system will track from the southern Rockies northeastward into New England, bringing moderate to heavy rain (1-4 inches) and severe weather to the southern Plains, lower Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio Valleys, and Northeast.

READ: Bomb cyclone relief efforts underway for ranchers, farmers

Another system will move southeastward out of southwest Canada across the northern Rockies and Plains, Midwest, and eastern Great Lakes region, dropping light to moderate totals (0.5-2 inches).

Year-over-year change in precip

Little or no precipitation is expected in the Far West, Southwest, south-central Plains, far upper Midwest, and along the southern Atlantic Coast. Temperatures should average below-normal across the northern third of the U.S., near normal in the Southeast, and above-normal in the Southwest.

The 6-10 day extended range outlook (April 30-May 4, 2019) favors above-normal precipitation odds across much of the central U.S., from the Rockies eastward to the Appalachians, in western and northern Alaska, with subnormal totals likely along the West Coast and in southeastern Alaska, with near-normal chances elsewhere. Subnormal temperatures are likely in the North-Central States while chances of above-normal readings are favored in the Southeast and western Alaska.


Source: NRCS and the U.S. Drought Monitorwhich are solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


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