U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Oct. 16 (Text)

Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:


Weekly Summary: During the past week, two storm systems impacted
the contiguous 48 states, with the cold front associated with
the first storm system bringing generally light rains to areas
from the northeast to the southern Great Plains.  The second
storm system developed along the western, trailing end of that
cold front, and intensified rapidly over the central Great
Plains.  Before departing the country to the northeast, this
system spread significant amounts of rain from the Panhandle of
Oklahoma to the Upper Great Lakes.  A cold front, associated
with a low-pressure system over Canada, brought a round of
precipitation to the Pacific Northwest.  Puerto Rico was
impacted over the weekend by the tropical cyclone that is now
Hurricane Raphael.

The Northeast and mid-Atlantic:   Minor changes were made to the
depiction of abnormally dry (D0) conditions over the Great Lakes
region of New York.  Recent rainfall (0.5 to 1.2 inches)
supported this change in conditions.  No changes were made to
the drought depiction across the Mid-Atlantic.

The Ohio Valley:  Light rains fell across the Ohio Valley. When
coupled with a recent wetter pattern during the past 60-days,
the recent rains allowed for the removal of some moderate
drought (D1) across Indiana, Ohio and northern Kentucky.
Additionally, some minor changes were made over Kentucky to
reflect a continued wetter pattern, as D2 (severe drought) was
removed from western Kentucky.

The Southeast: A relatively dry week across much of the
southeast prompted the expansion of abnormally dry conditions
across the eastern portions of the Carolinas and southeastern
Georgia.  Additional intensification is indicated across central
and southern Georgia, where rains continue to miss the most
intensely dry areas.  Across Alabama, short-term dryness back to
60-days is showing up in some of the streams, with stream flows
down to the 9th percentile in Crenshaw and Pike counties.

A reduction in dry conditions was noted was across western and
central North Carolina, so D0 was removed from the area west of
Charlotte, NC.  To reflect a continued wetter pattern, as a 1-
category improvement was included over western Tennessee.

The Central and Southern Plains:  Many changes to the depiction
of drought were included in the map this week.  Significant
rains (some reports in excess of 4.5 inches) fell across eastern
Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas, southwestern Missouri,
Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa.  Broad, 1-category improvements were
implemented across these regions.  Across Nebraska, Missouri,
Kansas and Iowa, the improvements were made across areas the
received in excess of 1.5 inches of precipitation.  As noted by
the Nebraska state climatologist, the areas of Nebraska that are
annotated as receiving the most improvement were the same areas
the received rainfall (1-4 inches) during September.

The Upper Great Lakes and Northern Great Plains: Significant
rains (0.5-4.1 inches) fell across lower Michigan, with slightly
higher amounts reported over central Wisconsin.  Based on that
recent rainfall, moderate drought was removed from the lower
portion of Michigan and the western most portions of the Upper
Peninsula.  The area of abnormal dryness was also scaled back
across most of Michigan, with areas of D0 remaining over
southern Michigan, the western UP, and where the D1 (moderate
drought) was indicated last week, as rains were not enough to
justify to 2-category improvement.

Across central Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota, rains of 2-4
inches (3-6 times the normal amount for the week) prompted a
broad 1-category improvement.  Other portions of southern
Wisconsin miss out on the rains, so areas receiving less than
2.0 inches of rain were largely left the same as last week.

After a dry week, minor expansions of extreme drought were
pursued this week across eastern South Dakota and western
Minnesota, as those areas missed out on the rains the fell south
and east.

The Rockies:  Minor revisions were made this week over Colorado,
where a 1-category improvement was made over Chafee and eastern
Gunnison counties.  Recent stream flow reports are showing a
slight recovery, and some recent precipitation has been
beneficial.  Farther north, over Jackson, Larimer, and Grand
counties, recent rains have provided some moisture, but not
enough to move the needle away from widespread severe drought.

A slight expansion of severe drought (D2) conditions was
included over central New Mexico, while some removal of drought
conditions was depicted over southeast New Mexico.  The past 6
months have been dry across over central New Mexico, but areas
south of Hobbs and east of Carlsbad have received precipitation
that measured 125 to 200+ percent of normal during September
(monthly totals from 2.9 inches to 4 inches).  Improvements were
limited by the return to dry conditions during October.

The Southwest: Las Vegas now has its 26th wettest year on record
even if no more precipitation was to fall for the rest of the
year.  Precipitation amounts in excess of 2.0 inches were
recorded in a large number of locations on the west and north
sides of Las Vegas during the past week (County Flood Control
District automated gauges) Due to hail and the intensity of the
rain, some stations were likely under-reporting precipitation
totals. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System (AHPS) maps show
precipitation totaling 150-400 percent of normal from Mt
Charleston to Lake Mead during the past 180 days, so widespread
improvements to the drought conditions were indicated across
this region.

The Pacific Northwest: Abnormal dryness (D0) was removed from
much of western Washington and Oregon.  Rainfall amounts
exceeded 5.0 inches at many reporting stations across this
region. Rains did push inland, across the northern Rockies and
into western Montana, so some improvement was indicated there as
well.

Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico: No changes were pursued to the
drought depiction across Alaska. The northern sections continued
to be mostly dry, although some locations did report light
precipitation. Minor trimming was performed on the abnormal
dryness (D0) area over Puerto Rico that received significant
rains (1.0 - 2.4 inches).

Over Hawaii, Extreme drought was added to the lower elevations
of Kauai from the south through southeast sectors (from near
Koloa to near Hanapepe). Some pasture lands are no longer able
to support any cattle.  Additionally, drought depictions were
expanded over the big island of Hawaii, based on USDA/FSA
reports and local reports of dwindling water supplies (some at
20 percent of capacity).

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 and some rains across the Midwest.
Particularly wet conditions are likely across the Pacific
Northwest and from the Tennessee Valley to the Great Lakes and
across the Northeast. Minimal amounts of rainfall are likely
across the Southeast, Rockies, and Southwest.

During the following 6-10 day period, the outlooks from the
Climate Prediction Center indicate enhanced odds for below-
average temperatures across southern Alaska, along the Pacific
Coast, and across the Great Basin to the Northern Rockies. With
enhanced odds of above-average temperatures elsewhere.  Wetter
than average conditions are more likely across the Pacific
Northwest, northern Great Plains, and Great Lakes.  Dry
conditions are more likely than normal across the southern tier
of the contiguous U.S. and southern Alaska.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Rose in Washington at srose31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marco Babic at mbabic@bloomberg.net

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