The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows late-season winter storms are shrinking dry conditions in the northern Midwest and Plains states, but the southwest remains critically dry.
Parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and further westward, are in prolonged extreme or exceptional drought, according to the latest report. As of April 17th, the two largest wildfires in Oklahoma had charred more than 300,000 acres of grass and brush and had destroyed more than 100 structures.
Meanwhile, the report notes that Kansas wheat was recently rated 46 percent as poor to very poor. In Oklahoma and Texas, nearly two-thirds of winter wheat is rated poor to very poor.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service outlook for next week calls for the likelihood of near to below-normal temperatures across most of the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will cover the West.
Near to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in a few areas, including the Atlantic Coast States and central and southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains, according to the report.