Dry livestock tanks show the effect of drought in Schulenberg, TX on Aug. 23, 2013. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.For the first time since November, less than 50% of the continental U.S. is in moderate- or D1-drought conditions. However, forecasts aren’t providing any optimism for a continued decrease in dryness. In fact, USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says the U.S. just topped a 27-week streak, and the Western U.S. continues to experience severe- to extreme drought conditions.

Recent precipitation has visited parts of the Plains states, but rains in the Southern Plains will have little to no impact on the dryness. The long-term weather outlook indicates heat and drought will continue to be a problem in states already hit hardest through late summer. Texas crop yields will be hit hard, as adverse weather particularly impacts an already dire spring wheat crop in the region.

Read more on U.S. drought conditions here.