Heavy rainfall in the Southeast and record snowpack in the Rockies have eased dramatically the nation's worst drought in more than a century.
Drought conditions are the least severe since January 2006. A quarter of the USA is suffering some form of drought today, down from 65% last summer, federal agencies said.
In the Southeast, where drought has been most severe, the area in drought has plummeted from 86% in August to 40% today.
"We've had some big improvements because of heavy rainfall over the region" of the Southeast, Ed O'Lenic, senior meteorologist at the federal Climate Prediction Center, said Tuesday. "Going forward, if things are pretty normal or close to that through the growing season, we'll be OK."
Much of the Southeast has received 10-20 inches of rain in the past three months, prompting Georgia's governor to permit the filling of swimming pools and hand watering of plants.