Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:
Weather Summary: During the past week, a strong and persistent area of high pressure dominated the circulation over the western half of the lower 48 states while extending northward to eastern Alaska. That upper-level high pressure area brought much above- normal temperatures to most of the west and Alaska, with some areas breaking heat records. Upper-level low pressure was entrenched over the eastern third of the lower 48 states, bringing copious amounts of rain (1.0 - 8.6 inches) to places east of the Mississippi River. New England and mid-Atlantic: A deep, upper-level trough brought persistent rains (0.5 - 8.6 inches) to the Northeast and Mid- Atlantic. Those rains prompted the removal of D0 (abnormal dryness) from southern Maine and central Pennsylvania. Additionally, the moderate drought (D1) was improved to D0 across northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania, as rains (0.9 - 3.4 inches) fell across that region. Streamflows across the region are mostly within or above the normal range. Southeast: Moderate to heavy rains (1.0 - 4.5 inches) fell on most of the remaining D0 over northern Florida, southern Alabama, and southern Georgia. Therefore, the remaining area of abnormal dryness (D0) was trimmed considerably across Florida and Georgia, but left nearly intact over Alabama where the rains were not as heavy (0.5 - 1.5 inches). Streamflows across southern Alabama remain below normal in many locations. The Midwest and Northern Plains: Some rains (1.0 - 1.8 inches) fell on the drought area in Minnesota, so some minor adjustments were made to the drought depiction there, with D1 being trimmed slightly where the heaviest rains fell. Further south, rainfall along the Mississippi Valley kept the dryness contained, though across portions of South Dakota and Iowa, little rain fell and temperatures were slightly above normal, so this area needs to be monitored closely. Streamflows across this region are mostly near normal, with a few reporting stations still reflecting the longer term dryness that gripped the Midwest for most of last year. The Central and Southern Plains, and Lower Mississippi River Valley: Isolated areas of rain fell across eastern Kansas and Nebraska, prompting only a small trimming of D0 over eastern Kansas. Over central Nebraska, where not rain fell, D2 was expanded over Lincoln County. North Platte Regional Airport Lee Bird Field is approaching 3 inches below average for the year and has also not seen more than 0.50 inch of rain at one time since May 29. Farther south and west, some rains fell across eastern New Mexico and western Texas. The maximum radar estimated precipitation (4.0 inches) was significantly greater than what was reported at individual stations (1.2 inches), so improvements were not as widespread as when the data sources exhibit better alignment. D4 (exceptional drought) was removed from portions of Harding and San Miguel counties in New Mexico, with slightly larger areas of extreme drought (D3) reduction across western Texas and southeast New Mexico (Yoakum County area). Across eastern and southern Texas, southern Oklahoma, southwest Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana, dry conditions prompted the expansion and intensification of drought conditions. Streamflows across much of the southern Plains are well below normal, with many stations reporting at or below the 5th percentile. Southwest and West: Hot and dry weather continued over the southwest and much of the west, with many locations breaking daily records for high temperatures. Little to no rain fell across much of the region, although some isolated showers did move across southern Arizona, but the showers were not enough to alleviate the ongoing drought. No rain was measured over northern Arizona, most of Utah, and most of Nevada, so drought conditions intensified. Accordingly, D4 (exceptional drought) was added to Navajo and Apache counties in Arizona, where some reports indicate that working animals have perished and fights have broken out due to lack of water. D3 (extreme drought) was also expanded across northwestern Arizona and southwestern Utah, in the area indicated to the driest by CPC Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) blend. Reports from the Natural Resources Conservation Serve out of Utah indicate that reservoir levels are dropping, soil moisture is near historic lows, and streamflows are in the lowest 25 percent, all indicative of intensifying drought. The CPC SPI and 30 and 60-day percent of normal precipitation were used to indicate the exceptional drought area across northwestern Nevada. Extreme drought (D2) was expanded slightly in western CO. The area was extremely dry during June, and wildfire activity and available fuels are an ongoing issue in the area. Streamflows in the region are much below normal, and modeled soil moisture values indicate D2 conditions. Despite near-normal rains for a small portion of southeastern Colorado, no change was made to the drought depiction as little to no recovery was indicated in stream flows and the reported impacts (ranchers selling herds and little to no ground cover for some pastures) align with the current depiction. A storm system did bring rains to northern California and parts of Oregon, prompting the removal of some D0 (abnormal dryness) from across the Cascades in Oregon. The rest of the depiction remained the same as streamflow responses were minimal. Across Montana, D3 was expanded over Madison County to reflect the ongoing dryness. Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: Over Hawaii, light rains fell on some stations, but the rains were not significant enough to improve conditions on the ground. Therefore, no changes were made to the drought monitor over Hawaii. Continued dry weather across Alaska prompted the expansion of D1 (moderate drought) and D0 (abnormal dryness). Streamflows continue to decline due to lack of recent rains. According to the USDA Forest Service, there were seven active fires across Alaska as of July 2, with many fires burning in excess of 10,000 acres. Widespread rains fell over Puerto Rico with some stations reporting over 5.0 inches of rain for the week. No drought or dryness is currently indicated for Puerto Rico. Looking Ahead: The next 5 days (July 3-7) favor wet weather across most of the eastern half of the Nation, with heavy rains forecast from the Gulf Coast to the Central Appalachians and portions of the Northeast. Some rains associated with the southwest monsoon are also likely during the next 5 days. Generally, less than 1.0 inches of rain is forecast across the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest. For the ensuing 5 days (July 8-12), the odds favor above-median precipitation over northern Alaska, the southern Rockies, portions of the Great Plains, and from the central Gulf Coast across the Tennessee Valley to the Northeast. Dry conditions are likely across the Pacific Northwest, the Alaskan Panhandle, and the immediate southeast coast. Temperatures are likely to be above normal west of the continental divide, and across the northeast, with below-normal temperatures favored over the center of the lower 48 states.