Drought conditions expanded slightly in the past week even as abnormally dry areas shrunk, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor. Moderate- to exceptional-drought conditions rose to 30.4% of the continental U.S. in the week ended July 10 , up from 29.7% a week earlier. The abnormally dry areas fell to 18.2% from 19.3% a week ago.
In the Midwest, 8% of the nine-state region was rated in moderate to extreme drought, up from 6.9% a week earlier and 2.9% a year ago. The area rated abnormally dry rose to 11.8% this week from 9.5% a week ago with most of the increase in Michigan. Warmer-than-normal temperatures dominated the region, with the Upper Midwest having the greatest departures with temperatures 4-6 degrees above normal. It was also a mostly dry week over the region with only spotty precipitation over portions of central Illinois into Indiana.
An active thunderstorm pattern helped to bring ample precipitation to North Dakota, northern South Dakota, central and eastern Nebraska, and portions of western Kansas. The precipitation last week along with recent rains reduced the level of drought in the Dakotas and Kansas. Less than 1% of Nebraska is experiencing drought down from nearly16% a year ago.
Abnormally dry conditions to exceptional drought conditions expanded to 71% of the West U.S., up from 69.7% a week ago and 27.9% a year earlier. Warmest and driest conditions the next week are expected to stay centered across this region.