Drought dominates Corn Belt in La Niña’s wake

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La Niña may be gone, but the persistent drought that plagued Texas last year has now slowly expanded to other areas of the United States.

A map of the country’s midsection is now highlighted with a bright yellow in the USDA’s latest Drought Monitor, posing as a warning of a potential drought that could soon be tightening its grip on the region. Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are the latest to be covered by an overwhelming majority of land rated as abnormally dry to moderate drought.

In the High Plains, less than 30 percent of the area is free from any drought or dryness, primarily in the Dakotas and Nebraska. A snow drought has turned into an extreme drought for areas of northwestern Colorado, and 100 percent of the state is in some state of abnormal dryness or drought. To the east, about 60 percent of Kansas is considered to be in a drought, compared to 32 percent last week.

Other states in the Corn Belt are also struggling:

 

Drought Conditions on level of intensity (percent area)

State

None

D0-D4

D1-D4

D2-D4

D3-D4

D4

Iowa

14.93

85.07

8.05

0.00

0.00

0.00

Illinois

13.87

86.13

16.49

6.30

0.00

0.00

Indiana

50.05

49.95

18.49

1.40

0.00

0.00

Missouri

5.06

94.94

26.04

4.44

0.00

0.00

D0: Abnoramlly Dry | D1: Moderate Drought | D2: Severe Drought | D3: Extreme Drought |
D4: Exceptional Drought

See how dry your state is here.

Long-term outlooks suggest little relief for most of the impacted areas. In the Seasonal Drought Outlook, the drought is expected to persist or intensity over many areas to the west of the Mississippi River. Experts are also anticipating the drought to persist in Arkansas and Missouri, as well as parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

There is good news for areas in the Southeast, where an intense drought has outstayed its welcome. The outlook showed drought conditions improving in Florida, and the southern areas of Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina.



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