It’s safe to say it’s been a rather dry few months for month of the states in the nation’s breadbasket. Summer ended on a wet note, but Mother Nature turned off the spigot just as quickly as it had been turned on.
Early drought conditions quickly expanded across the region, spreading as the dry months continued. By mid-October, North Central states – including Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin – reported 46 percent of the area in abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions.
According to the latest Drought Monitor, this percentage has since been diminished to 24 percent.
Further to the south, the Southern Plains saw similar reports. In mid-October, 71 percent of these southern states were in abnormally dry or worse conditions. As of Nov. 24, just 9 percent of the region remain in these conditions.
But what does the future hold?
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, released Nov. 19, showed drought fully eliminated across the Heartland by the end of February, with the exception of small pockets expected to persist through Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
This outlook even gave home to the majority of California, where drought has dominated for years. Though drought is forecast to remain across most of California, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration believes the drought should improve. However, it appears the brunt of the drought will be focused in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, northern Nevada and northern Utah.