Drought intensified in the Dakotas and northern areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin the week ending May 15, according to the National Drought Monitor. In contrast, dryness eased in southern Iowa and the northern two-thirds of Missouri.
The net result was a 3.97-point rise in the amount of the Midwest covered by some form of dryness or drought to 25.38%. That tally includes drought coverage of 30.71% in Iowa, 53.46% of Minnesota, 52.45% of Missouri and 22.11% of Wisconsin.
Looking at the Northern Plains, nearly 90% of North Dakota is covered by some form of dryness or drought, along with 42.49% of South Dakota.
This week’s National Drought Monitor shows spotty improvement in drought conditions for Kansas and Colorado. In Kansas, 96.98% of the state is covered by some form of dryness, a retreat of 0.53 points from the week prior. This also included a 2.60-point decline in the amount of drought classified as exceptional (D4).
Colorado saw a bit more improvement, with drought coverage falling from 81.98% to 79.51%. But the amount of the state covered by the most extreme form of drought edged higher.
While Oklahoma and Texas also saw spotty improvement in drought conditions over the past week, a worsening of drought in other areas more than offset the areas of improvement.
In Oklahoma, drought coverage climbed 1.39 points over the past week to 55.16%, but that is still down notably from three months ago when all of the state was covered by drought. Drought now covers 63.68% of Texas, a 3.46-point rise from the week prior.