Finger on the Weather

Drought all but gone in much of nation, but western states continue to suffer

What a difference a year makes.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor index shows that – thanks to recent record-setting rains in the Central Plains – only California and other portions of the far western United States – remains in severe drought. California remains in crippling drought, however, so any relief the strengthening El Nino can provide will be most welcome.

One of the wettest Mays in Wichita history – and widespread rains across Kansas in general last month – has all but erased any hints of drought in the Sunflower State. Less than 4 percent of the state is in moderate drought, compared to 54 percent three months ago and 87 percent a year ago.

Texas and Oklahoma set rainfall records in May, and Tropical Storm Bill has inundated parts of both states this month.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.