According to the National Drought Monitor, some form of drought now covers 57.5% of Kansas, down from 68.3% last week. Drought coverage held steady in Oklahoma at 43.8%, but contracted from 19.4% in Texas last week to 13.1%.
"Heavy precipitation fell on parts of the Plains and upper Mississippi Valley, bringing additional relief to areas where dryness and drought quickly developed over the past several weeks," notes the monitor. "Over four inches of precipitation was recorded at stations along the Iowa-Nebraska state line, with 2-4 inch reports common in the drought and abnormally dry areas of southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas. Two or more inches fell over the D0-D1 areas of the Dakotas and Minnesota. The heaviest rains in Texas fell outside the drought and abnormally dry areas, although 1-3 inches was reported at stations in and near the Panhandle drought and abnormally dry areas."
Additionally, the monitor notes, "D0 was trimmed in Nebraska and D0-D1 were pulled back in Kansas. In the Dakotas and Minnesota, D1 was eliminated and D0 reduced. Parts of south central Minnesota had been drying out over the last several weeks, but 1-3 inches of precipitation this week prevented any expansion of D0 there. D0-D2 were cut back in the Texas panhandle and D0 trimmed in the Trans Pecos region. In the Texas panhandle, Lake Meredith has recovered to levels not seen in the last ten years, although the level is still below those last seen in the 1990s. Continued dry weather from Arkansas to Illinois resulted in expansion of D0 in Missouri and western Illinois."
In the two days since the data was compiled for this week's drought monitor, additional heavy rain has fallen across the drought and abnormally dry areas of the central Plains, and precipitation of varying amounts has occurred over the drought and abnormally dry areas of other parts of the CONUS.
Looking ahead to April 28-May 2, the monitor notes a large upper-level weather system and associated frontal systems are forecast to bring moderate precipitation totals of 0.5 to 2.0 inches, with locally higher amounts, to parts of the intermountain basin to central and northern Rockies, much of the Great Plains to Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and the mid-Atlantic to Southeast. "Less than half an inch is predicted for the Far West, southern portions of the Southwest, northern Great Lakes, New England, and central to southern Florida. The upper-level low is expected to keep temperatures below average for much of the country, with above-normal temperatures limited to the Far West and Southeast to southern Plains," it states.