A rainy autumn helped ease the dryness in the East and some central states, but large areas of the Upper Midwest are facing winter still in the grip of long-term drought. “Subsurface soil moisture is still very low in a lot of states,” Douglas LeComte, a meteorologist with the Department of Agriculture, said. Fall rainfall eased the problem in the Southeast-especially rains from tropical storms, LeComte said. And moisture has improved in the Ohio, middle Missouri and lower Mississippi valleys. But the federal Climate Analysis Center lists conditions of extreme long-term drought as continuing in North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, most of Montana and portions of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and California. Severe drought also extends to surrounding areas, as well as parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.