NOAA: Wet April reduces national drought level to record low

Select significant climate events that occurred across the country in April 2017. (NOAA NCEI)

Persistent rainfall in April helped shrink the drought footprint for the contiguous U.S. to the lowest level since the nationwide Drought Monitor program began in 2000, NOAA reported.

The average precipitation total for April was 3.43 inches, 0.91 inch above the 20th-century average, making it the second wettest April on record in the U.S. Above-average precipitation was reported across the Northwest, Central Plains, Mid-Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic.

The total year-to-date precipitation for the Lower 48 states was 11.46 inches, 1.99 inches above average, making it the fifth wettest YTD period on record, according to NOAA.

U.S. Drought Monitor valid May 9, 2017

Heavy rain caused widespread flooding

Record precipitation was observed in parts of the Northwest, Southern Plains and Mid-Atlantic. North Carolina had its wettest April on record. Rains caused widespread flooding in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley and contributed to numerous landslides in the West.

On May 2, five percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought. This was the smallest drought footprint since the Drought Monitor began in 2000.

Despite improvement in many areas, drought worsened in the Southwest and across parts of the Southeast where several large wildfires burned in Florida and southern Georgia.