It seems like it has been feast or famine here with rainfall. Just three months ago at least 40% of Illinois was in a moderate drought or worse and a little more than six months ago nearly 80% of the state was in the same predicament. This year has started off soggy with nearly a foot and a half of rain making it the wettest start to a year (to date) we have ever seen.
The U.S. Drought Monitor just released their latest assessment of the country’s drought and it shows slight improvement.
The drought that has gripped much of our country for the past several months seems to be relinquishing its grip, at least very slowly. 47.34% of the contiguous US is experiencing at least a moderate drought, down from 47.82 last week. The improvement from the start of the year is more dramatic. On January 1st over 60% of the country was in at least a moderate drought. While none of Illinois or Indiana are in drought or even experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions, other midwest states are still in the grip of drought but showing signs of improvement. Just three months ago more than 60% of Wisconsin was in at least a moderate drought but today that number has dropped to 12.90%.
The 8 to 14 day precipitation forecast from the Climate Prediction Center has outlooked much of the Rockies and West (see below) for drier than average conditions. The outlook for the Northern Plain, most of the Midwest and the East Coast is for wetter than average conditions.
The longer range U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook shows some improvement possibly coming for the plains but the drought persisting in much of the southwest and Rockies (see below).