A weather system that moved across the Rockies, into the Southern Plains and Midwest brought damaging hail, wind and tornadoes but much-needed precipitation for the Southern Plains, the U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday.
The much-needed rain in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas was very heavy in some areas.
"We saw totals that were 50 to 90% of the year-to-date precipitation numbers," USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey explained in a USDA interview. Lubbock, Texas, for example, saw more than 5 inches from May 22 to May 26, accounting for 85% of the area's YTD total.
Texas experienced widespread improvements in exceptional, extreme and severe drought, with significant improvements in the central part of the state and the Panhandle. Moderate drought and abnormal dryness also decreased, mainly in the eastern part of the state, says Drought Monitor author Michael Brewer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Oklahoma likewise experienced an improvement mostly in exceptional and extreme drought throughout the center of the state.
Brewer notes, however, that limited improvement in drought conditions in western Nebraska was more than offset by degradation of extreme, severe and moderate drought and abnormal dryness in the central and eastern part of the state.
In the Midwest, abnormal dryness expanded through southeastern Iowa and into east-central Illinois. Other areas of the Midwest remained unchanged.
Little precipitation fell west of the Rockies this week, and conditions remain very dry. Areas of extreme drought expanded slightly in western New Mexico, while precipitation in eastern New Mexico alleviated small areas of drought there.
California continues to struggle with stubborn drought and wildfires. Statewide, California, at 75%, and New Mexico, at 72%, lead the nation in percent of pasture and rangeland in Poor or Very Poor conditions.
According to the Drought Monitor, much of the West remained unchanged this week.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor