The percentage of the United States in drought has reached its lowest level in nearly two years.
About 30.3 percent of the country is in drought, an incremental improvement over last week, but enough to drop the lower 48 states below levels that occurred during the historic drought year of 2012, said Brad Rippey, a USDA meteorologist.
Rippey wrote this week's assessment for the National Drought Monitor.
At the September peak of the 2012 drought, about 65 percent of the lower 48 states were in drought, according to the Monitor.
About 53 percent of Iowa and 48 percent of Nebraska remain in drought. The worst pocket of drought in the two states is in southwest Nebraska, where about 5 percent is in extreme drought.
From July 2012 until the past spring, virtually all of Nebraska and Iowa were in drought.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the USDA, and about 350 drought observers across the country.
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