From Reuters (Carey Gillam):
While conditions started to improve earlier in November, they turned harsh to close out the month as above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation proved a dire combination in many regions, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly compilation of data gathered by federal and academic scientists issued Thursday.
Forecasts for the next several days show little to no relief and weather watchers are predicting a drier than average winter for much of the central United States.
“The drought’s impacts are far reaching,” said Eric Luebehusen, a meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the report.
The U.S. High Plains, which includes key farm states of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas, are the hardest hit. In that region, almost 58 percent of the land area is in extreme or exceptional drought, the worst categories of drought. A week ago, the tally was 55.94 percent.
Nebraska is by far the most parched state in the nation. One hundred percent of the state is considered in severe or worse drought, with 77.46 percent of the state considered in “exceptional” drought – the worst level, according to the Drought Monitor.
Overall, roughly 62.65 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least “moderate” drought as of November 27, up from 60.09 percent a week earlier,
The portion of the contiguous United States under “extreme” or “exceptional” drought – the two most dire classifications – expanded to 20.12 percent from 19.04 percent.
From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Garrison Wells):
A scant 0.02 inches of precipitation fell on Colorado Springs in November, a tie for 9th driest in history “and that’s bad enough,” said Randy Gray, meteorological technician with the National Weather Service in Pueblo. “It’s at a critical point now,” he said. “Currently, practically all of El Paso County is in what is called extreme drought conditions.”[...]
November’s average high for Colorado Springs is 51 degrees and the average low is 25.2 degrees. The mean, that’s right in the middle, is 38.1 degrees, Gray said. The city’s mean temperature this November through Thursday was 5.1 degrees above where it normally sits. The average precipitation for the month is .40 inches.
The outlook doesn’t get any better for at least the next few months, Gray said. “The bad news is that for this part of the country especially, the drought conditions are expected to persist or possibly even intensify,” he said.
That’s bad news all around. Farmers, already hit by high prices for hay and other supplies, may face more price jumps, said Ken Bachmann, store manager at the Big R of Falcon. The price of hay is up 44 percent this year.