This week's National Drought Monitor reflects a slight increase in the area impacted by drought in the HRW Wheat Belt. In Kansas, 31.25% of the area is now impacted by some form of drought, a two-point increase from last week. This includes a one-point increase from last week to 4.19% of the area impacted by "moderate" drought. In Oklahoma, 52.57% of the state is covered by some form of drought, also a one-point increase from last week. Drought also spread in Texas, now covering 35.08% of the state, which is up from 29.47% last week, but drought growth is largely in the far eastern portion of the state.
Additionally, drought spread in Colorado, where 64.54% of the state is now covered by drought, compared to 48.09% last week. In Nebraska, drought covers 17.83% of the state, compared to 15.09% last week.
Drought also spread in the Southeast, west of the area impacted by Hurricane Matthew. It states, "Dry conditions have led to delays in the planting of winter wheat in Alabama... On the map, areas of Moderate Drought (D1), Severe Drought (D2), Extreme Drought (D3) and Exceptional Drought (D4) expanded in both Alabama and Georgia, while western portions of South Carolina saw expansion of areas of Moderate Drought (D1), Severe Drought (D2) and Extreme Drought (D3). In upstate South Carolina, crop losses (hay) are being reported by the USDA Farm Service Agency. Overall, the region was dry, and average temperatures were one-to-eight degrees above normal with the exception of southern Georgia and Florida where temperatures were slightly below normal."
The National Weather Service seven-day precip forecast calls for significant precipitation accumulations in northern California (two-to-ten inches) and western portions of Oregon and Washington (two-to-six inches). One-to-two inches of precipitation are forecasted for northern portions of the Midwest, while one-to-four inches are forecasted for the Northeast. "Conversely, most of the southern tier of the conterminous U.S. will be dry," it adds.