The monthly NOAA Drought Outlook was posted Thursday, Feb. 21, and after comparing this one to a month ago, the overall Corn Belt-wide evaluation for now through the end of May (end of the meteorological spring) is "no change." Here's why:
Some possible improvement is indicated over all of western and central Missouri along with the western 2/3 of Iowa, the western half of Minnesota, and the eastern Dakotas. That is certainly a more promising setup in South Dakota, where soils are very dry.
However, the forecast a month ago called for definite improvement across all of Minnesota, the eastern Dakotas, and the eastern half of Iowa. The fact that definite improvement has been dialed back is an indication that the next three months still offer some challenges in the northwestern Corn Belt when it comes to soil moisture recharge.
And, of course, the Plains west has no change. Drought to persist. And even the immediate Four Corners region, which had a tag of "some improvement" last month, is back to a "persistence" call for drought conditions this spring.
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