Drought deepens in the Corn Belt, but...

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Drought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map released April 10, 2014. Corn planting is underway in many states across the Plains and Midwest, and athough drought has a firm grip on many in the central and western portions of the country, conditions remain well below levels report this time last year.

According to the latest Drought Monitor report, nearly 38 percent of the Continental United State is in moderate or worse drought. While this is virtually unchanged from last week’s report, the report issued on April 11, 2013, showed more of the country (51 percent) engulfed in deeper drought.

With the exception of California and Nevada, many key agriculture-producing states are faring better than last year:

State/Region

April 10, 2014

April 11, 2013

 

Percent in Moderate to Exceptional Drought

MIDWEST

11.5%

32.2%

  Indiana

0.0%

0.0%

  Illinois

0.1%

0.0%

  Iowa

56.7%

69.8%

  Kentucky

0.0%

0.0%

  Michigan

0.0%

1.24%

  Minnesota

18.5%

97.8%

  Missouri

6.7%

16.11%

  Ohio

0.0%

0.0%

  Wisconsin

9%

48.3%

HIGH PLAINS

32%

91.7%

   Colorado

23.4%

100%

   Kansas

98.8%

100%

   Nebraska

74.2%

100%

   North Dakota

0.0%

48.9%

   South Dakota

0.0%

100%

   Wyoming

0.0%

93.6%

SOUTH

43.2%

57.9%

   Arkansas

0.3%

14%

   Oklahoma

76.5%

85%

   Texas

40.5%

89.4%

Click here to read more from the Drought Monitor.

As the chart above shows, drought remains a dominate presence over much of the Central and Southern Plains, though notably improved from last year. Even so, extreme and exceptional drought dot portions of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

 

Still, the state hardest hit by the drought is California, with 95 percent currently stuck in severe to exceptional drought. Last year, this figure was below 50 percent.

Climate Central reports that 2014 has been the first time the Drought Monitor has shown exceptional drought in California since the report’s inception in 1999.

“Things are not trending in the right direction,” Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center told Climate Central.

So what would it take to quench the drought in the Golden State?

“Heavy rain and snow would have to fall throughout California every day for the remainder of April to reach average annual rain and snowfall levels, which is highly unlikely,” the state government’s weekly drought briefing said. “Even with such precipitation, California would remain in drought conditions, due to low water supplies in reservoirs from the two previous dry years.”

“We’re going to be looking to next winter as pivotal,” Svoboda adds.

Read, “Why California’s Drought Isn’t Going Anywhere.”

Now all eyes are the pending arrival of El Niño, which has a 70 percent chance of developing by mid-summer, according to new data.


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