At a news conference last Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't have good tidings for a lot of hard red winter wheat farmers.
NOAA confirmed that currently severe to extreme drought extends across the Southwest into the southern Plains and northward into Kansas
. The U.S.
drought monitor gives its highest drought rating, D4 (exceptional), to portions of southern Texas
and eastern Oklahoma
. Heavy rains including severe thunderstorms have eased short-term drought in Illinois
, and southward into Arkansas
, but ongoing drought concerns may linger, the agency explained. (The southern Plains experienced some rain after the NOAA conference.)
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for dry conditions persisting through June in the Southwest and the southern and central Plains, despite temporary improvement in some areas. Also, drought is expected to expand in eastern Colorado
. Some drought improvement is predicted for areas in the northern Rockies
and northern Plains, as well as the Mississippi Valley
and eastern Plains. Drought is expected to continue in North Carolina
and possibly expand into portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
The U.S. Spring Outlook for April through June indicates below-normal precipitation for much of the central and southern Plains, as well as the Southeast and Gulf Coast
. Above normal precipitation is favored across the northern Plains and Great Lakes
region. The remainder of the country has equal chances of above, near or below normal precipitation.