Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:
Weekly Summary: The past week featured a series of low-pressure systems that moved across the northern tier of the contiguous 48 states, with their associated cold fronts moving southward to the gulf coast. These cold fronts brought some rains to portions of the contiguous 48 states, with the heaviest amounts across the northern Great Plains, Mid-west, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida. Most of the areas that are west of the Rockies remained dry this week, under the influence of a persistent upper-level ridge. According to the United State Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA/NRCS) below-normal temperatures were observed for most of the central portions of the contiguous U.S., with above-average temperatures over much of Alaska. The Northeast and mid-Atlantic: The depiction of abnormally dry conditions (D0) across the Great Lakes region of New York was modified in response to light-to-moderate rains (0.5 -1 .5 inches). Near the eastern shores of Lake Ontario, the area of D0 was trimmed, while slight expansion was included just east of the Rochester area. Farther south, across central Maryland and northern Virginia, drought and dryness were removed from the depiction due to recent rains (some reports of approximately 3.0 inches across central Maryland with lighter amounts over northern Virginia). Additional improvements were made across the Delmarva (Accomack County) in response to recent rains. According to the National Weather Service, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS), over 3.0 inches fell on this county during the last 30 days, pushing the 60-day totals to greater than 100% of normal. The Ohio Valley: The recent wet pattern allowed for widespread removal of drought and dry conditions across the Ohio Valley. Based on near-normal precipitation during the past 30, 60, and 90-day periods, burn bans being lifted, and stream flows getting closer to normal, severe drought (D2) was removed from southern Indiana. Additional improvements were made across southern Illinois, based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) report for this week, which reported 100% of the agricultural topsoil was in the adequate to surplus range. For subsoil, the report indicated moisture was 0% in very short and 29% short. Improvements also extended into Kentucky, which, despite a dry week this past week, has experienced a wet pattern during much of the past 30 days (some areas received over 8 inches of precipitation). The Southeast: Some improvements (the removal of drought depiction) were made across northern Georgia. The past 7 days were relatively dry across much of the state, while the improvements were made based on cumulative rains during the past 30 days. Rainfall totals from Gwinnett to Hall to Hart Counties during the past 30-days are above-average, but an overall dry pattern for the long-term limited the scope of the removal of drought and dryness. No large changes were made across the Carolinas or Alabama. The lower Mississippi/Delta area: As part of a reassessment of conditions, moderate drought (D1) and abnormal dryness (D0) were almost completely removed from Louisiana. Additional removals of drought designations were pursued across southeastern Arkansas and Tennessee, based on 30 and 60-day rainfall totals (above-average) and SPI values out through 24 months, which indicate normal or wet conditions for time periods less than 6 months across eastern Tennessee, most of Mississippi, and southeastern Arkansas. The Central and Southern Plains: Minor changes were made to the depictions across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Continued dry conditions prompted the expansion of drought conditions across Oklahoma and central Kansas. Across Kansas, continued dry conditions prompted the expansion of extreme drought conditions to cover the entire south-central portions of the state. Impacts range from agricultural (Kansas winter wheat was at 65% planted by Sunday, slightly ahead of average, however, it was only 25% emerged, which is below average) to ecological (the Cheyenne Bottoms Wetlands had seen a dramatic reduction in coverage of water). Farther north, reports out of Nebraska had less than one-third of winter wheat fields as emerged, 12 days behind average. Across Missouri, rainfall totals ranging from 0.5-1.4 inches did little to alleviate severe and extreme (D3) drought conditions, so no changes were made. The Upper Great Lakes and Northern Great Plains: Rainfall amounts that varied from 0.2 inch to 1.8 inches were recorded across North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, which prompted some removal of severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought. Those rains did not translate eastward, and little to no rain fell across Wisconsin during the reporting period for this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor. Accordingly, severe drought conditions were expanded across central Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. Exceptional Drought (D4) coverage was increased over central South Dakota. Below-normal temperatures may have helped to reduce evaporation concerns, but no precipitation fell east of the badlands. Extreme drought and severe drought were also expanded, with severe drought no covering almost every county in South Dakota. Across the lower terrain of northern Montana, abnormally dry conditions expanded northward to cover the remaining portions of the state, east of the continental divide. The drought designation across northwestern Montana was changed to “S” as most impacts are of the types typically associated with droughts less than 6 months. The Rockies: Minor revisions were made this week over Colorado, where 1-category improvements were made over the northeastern portions of the state. The improvements were based on recent beneficial moisture, which has continued to accumulate. Impacts in drought-stricken areas have lessened slightly. Standardized precipitation indices (SPIs) are positive through 90 days along the Front Range, so a reduction to D1 was included in this week’s depiction. Extreme drought (D3) was trimmed to accommodate and the D4 was reduced, now limited mostly to the far northeast corner of CO where long-term SPIs are still below -2.0. The Southwest: No changes were made to the regional depiction this week. The Pacific Northwest: Abnormal dryness (D0) was expanded across western portions of Oregon and Washington. Ongoing fires are an indication that the wet season has yet to begin across this region. Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico: No changes were pursued to the drought depiction across Hawaii. Minor trimming was performed on the abnormal dryness (D0) area over Puerto Rico that received significant rains (1.0 - 2.4 inches). Likewise, minor adjustments to the depiction of D0 were included in this week’s Drought Monitor to reflect where precipitation amounts exceeded 1.0 inch. Looking Ahead: In the ensuing 5 days, National Weather Service forecasts call for a fairly wet pattern across the northern tier of the contiguous 48 states. Particularly wet conditions are likely across the Pacific Northwest and from the central Great Plains to the Great Lakes. Minimal amounts of rainfall are likely across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. During the 6-10 day period, the outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center indicate enhanced odds for below-average temperatures across southern Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, with enhanced odds of above-average temperatures elsewhere. Wetter than average conditions are more likely across the Pacific Northwest, northern Great Plains, and from the Great Lakes to the central Gulf Coast. Dry conditions are more likely than normal across the southern Rockies and southern High Plains.
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