Over Half of U.S. Covered by Drought as 2017 Ends

Posted on 12/28/2017 10:15 AM

The Drought Monitor shows 54.7% of the contiguous U.S. is covered by some form of drought, compared to 46.1% a year-ago. Drought conditions intensified in areas of Kansas and Oklahoma last week, while the mid-South saw some improvements.

The monitor notes that D1 expanded across the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas, with D2 increased in the Oklahoma Panhandle, southwestern Kansas and northern Texas. “For example, Amarillo, TX, has 73 consecutive days without measurable precipitation (since Oct. 13), but had 2.09 inches during Oct. 3-6. Similar dry spells existed for several locations in the Oklahoma Panhandle (e.g. Guymon, OK, only 0.03 inches since Oct. 6),” it states.


Additionally, the monitor notes that light snow fell across portions of the High Plains, providing a thin to medium blanket of snow across Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, northern halves of Colorado and Kansas and southern South Dakota. “Snow was lacking across northern South Dakota as readings dropped below 0F by week’s end. In more southern locations where temperatures were somewhat warmer and soils not as deeply frozen, short-term D1 and D2 was expanded in southwestern and central Kansas in response to similar drought indices in neighboring Oklahoma. Fortunately, with longer-term conditions not as dire in Kansas as in Oklahoma, impacts were less severe in Kansas,” it states.


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