Corn Belt a mixed bag of drought and flood

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click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map released on April 25, 2013. April’s wild weather pattern continues to split much of the Corn Belt, often separating areas that are "too dry" and "too wet" by just a few hundred miles.

Thursday’s Drought Monitor showed that 47 percent of the contiguous United States is in moderate or worse drought, down considerably from the 61 percent reported on Jan. 1. It may appear that the drought is finally easing, but the national drought picture doesn’t give the whole story.

Drought has dominated most of the Plains states since last September. For six months, Nebraska claimed the top spot as the driest state in the Union. Now, after weeks of wet rain, drought is lifting over the eastern half of the state. While improved, 78 percent of the state remains in extreme or worse drought.

Neighboring Kansas is faring slightly better – 57 percent reported in extreme to exceptional drought. However, the Sunflower State is split by the drought. Conditions are rapidly improving in the eastern half of the state, while drought continues to intensify throughout the western half.

The drought is now spreading across the western half of the country, reaching as far as California and Oregon. Read the report here.

For already-dry Texas, the return of intense drought brings new headaches and worries. According to The Monitor, there appears to be no end to the Texas drought in sight.

“If you think it’s been really dry and you haven’t seen something like this before, the answer is: ‘Yes, you never have seen this before,’” Barry Goldsmith, a National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist, said.

“Until we see a long-term pattern change, we’re going to see more of these droughts than fewer,” Goldsmith added. 

Read, “Officials: Record drought could drag on.”

The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook shows that while the central and northern Plains may see improvement through the end of July, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and other western states will have to endure a persistent drought. Click here for the Drought Outlook.

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