Thursday’s weekly update of the U.S. Drought Monitor showed the active weather pattern in the last week has helped chip away at the drought conditions in some of the hardest-hit areas of the western U.S., while soil and crop conditions in the Southern and High Plains remain worrisome. The majority of topsoil moisture in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas is rated short to very short, but a system that delivered in excess of 18 inches of snow to parts of the central Plains and western Corn Belt eased soil moisture worries in some spots. Meanwhile, conditions are becoming dire in parts of the southern Plains; Texas wheat farmers saw drought conditions expand slightly in the last week, adding to the pressure on the region’s winter wheat crop, 41% of which is rated in very poor or poor condition, according to USDA. So, while there were improvements in drought conditions in some areas in the last week, it remains a serious challenge in many areas heading into spring. See more from the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.