By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
There was some good and some bad news in Thursday's U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly federal website that tracks drought.
good news is that nationally, the percentage of the USA that's
considered either abnormally dry or in a drought dropped below 70
percent for the first time since June of last year. Recent rain and snow
has helped ease drought conditions in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and
Midwest, according to the monitor.
However, very dry conditions
continued in parts of the Plains and the West. 100 percent of the states
of Colo., S.D., Neb., Kan., Okla., and Iowa remain in a drought.
lack of snow continues to heighten concern across much of the West,"
according to climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought
Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb.
Colorado in particular is extremely dry, he says.
are water supply related, given the depletion of reservoirs, stream and
groundwater levels that would continue to be a concern for both the
Missouri and Upper Colorado Basins," he says. "This would hamper
irrigation allocation and/or delivery for agriculture, urban and tourism
interests this summer if we stay dry."
Svoboda added that there
is "strong potential for significant hydrological impacts early on this
summer" as the drought continues in the Midwest and central and northern
"If we don't get our soil moisture levels up during this
off-season recharge period, we will be living rain event to event much
earlier than last year and heat waves can be expected," he says.