Rain soaked the South and East again this week, easing drought conditions across parts of Texas, Georgia, and Florida. But drought conditions in the northern Plains worsened, and drought persists in the Southwest.
Rainfall eliminated the lingering abnormally dry areas in eastern Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
More than 4 inches of rain fell on southeastern Alabama and the Florida panhandle, helping to alleviate short-term drought conditions. Other parts of Florida got up to 7 inches of rain, removing extreme drought conditions. Abnormally dry and moderate drought areas in northwest Alabama were expanded slightly, while above-average rainfall in the eastern part of the state reduced the abnormally dry area.
Parts of the Central Gulf Coast region receiving upwards of 4 inches of rain this week, reducing the areas depicted as abnormally dry in Arkansas and Louisiana. However, abnormally dry areas crept northward into parts of southern Oklahoma.
Moderate drought was introduced in northern Minnesota.
Lack of precipitation in the Dakotas has resulted in an expansion of moderate drought conditions, which now cover most of North Dakota as well as northern South Dakota.
Rain in eastern New Mexico reduced abnormally dry conditions slightly, while abnormally dry conditions in eastern Utah and western Colorado expanded a bit. Pasture and crop conditions continued to deteriorate in Montana.
The South and eastern portions of the U.S. should continue to get rain this week, with more than 5 inches predicted along the coastal Carolinas and in Florida. Widespread rainfall is also expected across the Rockies and the central U.S., possibly easing conditions in drought-stricken areas of eastern Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
Drought occurs periodically across the nation and can cause devastation for crops, residents, and wildlife—even if it's only temporary. Other parts of the nation, such as California and, more recently, the South, are plagued by drought. Long-term drought impacts the economy, agriculture, and the daily lives of residents. These conditions also increase the risks and devastation from wildfires. In such desperate conditions, community and state leaders have implemented plans to conserve water and replenish natural sources through desalination, rationing, recycling, reusing, and even purchasing water from other locations. Water rationing for both residents and businesses disrupts productivity and the local economy. Manufacturers are turning to self-sustained methods for maintaining production capacity, such as zero liquid discharge (ZLD) and water reuse systems for their process water. Residents are required to limit watering, swap out foliage for drought-resistant plants, and more.
Data retrieved from United States Drought Monitor.