The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows no improvement in the hardest-hit states of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma as soil moisture continues to deteriorate.
Just under 60% of the lower 48 are still in some sort of drought from moderate to exceptional. In much of the Central Plains, the hardest hit area, drought is still rated extreme to exceptional – the highest ratings.
Unfavorable weather caused further degradation in Texas and Oklahoma.
"Topsoil moisture conditions continued to decline, with 88% rated short to very short, while subsoil moisture similarly rated dropped to 94%. With so much of Oklahoma already in D3 and D4, it is getting difficult to degrade the state further," writes David Miskus of the Climate Prediction Center.
Oklahoma's OCS Mesonet noted that it has been 52 days since parts of the state have seen at least 0.25 inches of rain in one day.
"The combination of warm and dry weather was taking a toll on grasses and small grains. Winter wheat was running out of moisture and was rated 30% poor to very poor as of Nov. 4, up from 12% a week ago," Miskus notes.
Nearly 40% of Kansas, a key state for wheat production, remains in exceptional drought. Both Nebraska and Kansas are already in D3-D4, "leaving little room for downgrade," Miskus writes.
A mixed bag of weather conditions affected the rest of the Midwest and Plains, as the northern plains have been cool with some showers and conditions in the Midwest remain relatively unchanged. Light showers were present in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri.
In the Southeast, Alabama and Georgia also saw light rains, though an area of extreme to exceptional drought remains in central Georgia.
Conditions ahead include a Nor'easter for the areas already hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Strong rains and wind will accompany the Nor'easter and "unsettled" weather will move into the West with lower temperatures and showers. The Rockies and Plains will likely see some precipitation.