The continuing U.S. drought over much of the western half of the country spread modestly in the past week, now covering about 46% of lower 48 states, up slightly from last week’s reading of 45%. The drought covered more than 75% of the lower 48 a year ago.
There are virtually no drought conditions east of the Mississippi River, although temperatures were well above normal from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic states.
The Central and Southern Plains and the Lower Mississippi River Valley are the areas that have been hardest hit by drought conditions, and heavy rain in the past week did not fall where it was most needed.
Rain has been falling in the Southwest, too, and has helped reduce drought-affected areas in Arizona and New Mexico. Topsoil moisture improved in New Mexico and Colorado, but it has deteriorated in Idaho and Oregon.
Topsoil moisture conditions worsened in both Nebraska and Kansas last week, with dry conditions expanding from 53% to 62% in Nebraska and 68% to 74% in Kansas.
Temperatures for the coming week are expected to be near to above normal throughout the United States, with the highest readings coming in the West. Above-normal rainfall is forecast for the Southwest and most the eastern half of the nation.
Corn prices have fallen since last week when they were around $5.50 a bushel. Prices are hovering around $5.40 a bushel today.