Drought conditions eased in northern and southern areas of the U.S. Plains over the week ending Oct. 2. USDA details that light rain and cool temperatures led to some drought improvement or at the very least stabilization of drought across the Dakotas. The monitor shows 75.8% of North Dakota is now covered in some form of drought/dryness, a 7.8-point decline from last week. South Dakota saw similar improvement, with drought/dryness coverage falling 9.0 points to 36.7%.
Western Nebraska and northwest Kansas have been dry the past 60 days, but cool weather delayed the introduction of D0 (abnormal dryness) for now, according to this week’s National Drought Monitor. “But rain will be needed soon to prevent deterioration,” the monitor continues.
Nebraska is currently free of drought, while drought/dryness is noted in just 21.5% Kansas, a dramatic improvement from three months ago when 72.8% of the state was covered by abnormal dryness or drought.
Northeast Texas also enjoyed some rains over the past week, but southwest and central areas of the state as well as the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, and northern and eastern areas of Oklahoma were fairly dry.
Of note, the Drought Monitor points out that preliminary statistics indicates September was the second or third wettest month on record for Texas. Today’s update shows 38.4% of Texas is covered by some form of drought, down 4.1 points from week-ago and a 44.2-point drop from this time three months ago.
Southwest Oklahoma enjoyed an inch or two of rain that improved drought to some degree. Drought coverage in the stated edged 3.6 points lower over the past week to cover 23.5% of the state.
In sum, drought improvement has come at a good time, with winter wheat planting underway as the precip should help get the crop well-established ahead of winter. In fact, rapid planting and an encouraging start for the crop has many expecting producers to increase acreage.
The Midwest drought footprint also continues to improve. Dry spots are primarily isolated to Missouri, Michigan and northern Minnesota, outside of primary production areas.