Rains ease drought ... a little, in some places
This week's Drought Monitor map (above) is out, and it does show some drought relief for some places in Maryland, when compared with last week's map. The portion of the state in moderate or severe drought has declined from 93 percent to 85 percent.
The most-improved award goes to the Mid-Shore region, from, say the Sassafras River south to the Denton area. That section was rated abnormally dry last week is now in the clear. The portion of the state no longer considered abnormally dry increased on this week's map from 6.8 percent to 14.4 percent.
Also improved this week are Baltimore and its immediate suburbs. The weekend rains there boosted conditions from "moderate drought" to only "abnormally dry." The percentage of the state rated at least abnormally dry declined from 93 percent to 85.6 percent on this week's map.
Still rated in moderate agricultural drought are counties north and west of the metropolitan areas, including northern Baltimore County, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties, as well as Howard and most of Montgomery.
Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore showed little or no improvement despite several inches of rain in some locations. They remain in at least moderate drought. The portion of the state in moderate drought has declined slightly, from 64 percent last week to 60.5 percent this week.
And the crescent of territory centered on Calvert County that was in severe drought last week is still in that condition, according to the latest map. That region consitutes 4 percent of the state's geography.
Meanwhile, the map shows dry conditions persist in much of the mid-Atlantic region. The worst drought in the U.S. at the moment is found on the big island of Hawaii, and in northern Louisiana.
The Drought Monitor map is based on an index that takes into account measurements of such factors as rainfall, stream flow, soil moisture and plant health.