March 7, 2013 / 4:48 PM / 5 years ago

Drought conditions improve in many U.S. states -report

March 7 (Reuters) - Winter wheat growers in the U.S. High
Plains were enjoying improved soil-moisture conditions in some
key growing areas as the region's drought levels continued to
retreat, according to a report issued on Thursday.
    Drought conditions improved because of recent snowstorms in
top U.S. wheat producer Kansas as well as in Nebraska, Oklahoma
and Colorado, also key wheat-production states.
    But conditions grew worse in Texas. 
    Altogether, eight U.S. states continued to suffer from the
worst levels of drought, dubbed "exceptional" by the Drought
Monitor, a report issued by a consortium of state and federal
climatologists each week.
    According to this week's report:
   * The High Plains region, the region hit the hardest by
drought, showed exceptional drought falling to 25.87 percent of
the region, down from 26.68 percent the previous week. The
second-worst level of drought, called "extreme," fell to 55.76
percent, down from 56.77 percent.
    * In Kansas, exceptional drought fell to 21.43 percent of
the state from 21.58 percent, while extreme drought was
unchanged at 69.75 percent of the state.
     * Exceptional drought in Nebraska fell to 76.76 percent,
down from 76.94 percent of the state, while extreme drought held
steady at 96.10 percent.
    * In Colorado, exceptional drought dropped to 21.22 percent
of the state, down from 24.92 percent, and extreme drought fell
to 48.04 percent down from 51.14 percent.
    * Oklahoma is one of the states that has benefited the most
from recent precipitation. Oklahoma saw exceptional drought
levels shrink to 9.54 percent from 11.80 percent of the state
though extreme drought held steady at 61.65.
    * In Wyoming, exceptional drought held steady at 10.10
percent, but extreme drought improved to 54.74 percent from
56.71 percent.
    * In New Mexico, exceptional drought improved slightly to
4.25 percent from 4.39 percent, while extreme drought levels
were unchanged at 49.88 percent.
    * South Dakota saw no improvement, holding steady with 29.58
percent in exceptional drought, and 63.23 percent in extreme
    * Drought increased slightly in Texas, with exceptional
levels expanding to 7.41 percent from 5.17 percent, and extreme
drought growing to cover 23.86 percent of the state from 22.02
percent the week earlier.
    * Overall, for the contiguous United States, "severe" or
worse levels of drought rose to 36.44 percent from 36.35
    Severe drought is considered the third-worst category for
drought, according to the report.

 (Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Jan

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