The “Drought Monitor” report, released on Thursday, had good news for the Midwest – the so-called “flash drought” is showing signs of easing. In Iowa, where conditions were the worst in the region, 20 percent of the state is in moderate drought. This is down from the 42 percent reported in September.
However, further to the west, the news wasn’t as positive.
The Plains states from Nebraska to Texas saw no improvement in the drought. For Kansas and Texas, conditions worsened from last week’s report.
Nearly 40 percent of Kansas is experiencing abnormal dryness, compared to 5 percent reported on Nov. 7. Texas reported similar – albeit smaller – shifts.
California is the big story in drought, with 96 percent in moderate or worse drought. Twenty-eight percent of this is extreme drought, the highest percentage in this drought intensity reported since November 2007. If the precipitation trend continues, 2013 could be the driest year in California record books.
Meanwhile, drought is creeping slowly to the east. Much of the Northeast and Eastern Seaboard are seeing a spread of abnormal dryness, and the Climate Prediction Center sees this drought development continuing through the end of February.