A large, slow-moving weather system that moved from the southwestern U.S. through the Plains and eastward delivered some much-needed precipitation, and that moisture showed up in Thursday’s update to the U.S. Drought Monitor in the form of declining drought severity in places like Nebraska and Kansas. The Southwest remained basically unchanged in general, with exceptional drought gripping much of Nevada, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The most noteworthy change since last week was an increase in the severity of the drought in northern South Dakota and North Dakota, as well as a growing pocket of drought in northwest Iowa. North Dakota looks to be the state to watch as spring planting approaches. “If below normal precipitation persists later into the spring when temperatures warm, rapid intensification of drought conditions may occur,” according to Thursday’s U.S. Drought Monitor report.