U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending June 25 (Text)

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

The Northeast: Status quo this week, although recent dryness in
Pennsylvania warrants keeping an eye on possible expansion in
the coming weeks if rains continue to miss.

Mid-Atlantic: Following recent improvements the past few weeks,
the map remains unchanged this week after relatively quiet
weather.

The Southeast: The same relatively quiet weather pattern settled
in across most of the region, with seasonal rains and
unseasonably cooler temperatures. Deficits over the past 60-90
days continue to accumulate across parts of southern Alabama,
southwest Georgia and the Florida panhandle, leading to some
slight expansion of D0 in these areas.

Midwest: The transformation to normal continues in the upper
Midwest with heavy rains (2-5+ inches) bringing substantial
improvements to Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. D1 has been
removed from southwest Minnesota and D0 has been reduced as a
result, leaving the only drought in the state confined to the
Red Lake region in the northwest. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions
were also reduced in northwestern Iowa on the heels of recent
improvements.

The Plains and Lower Mississippi Basin: Most of the biggest
changes in the region this week were of the better variety,
especially in South Dakota, where generous widespread rains led
to 1-category improvements and a push westward of D0/D1 across
the Missouri River. Only a small amount of D0 remains between
north central South Dakota and south central North Dakota
because of longer-term deficits. The western half of the state
still has plenty of drought to overcome moving forward into
summer, so all is not clear. Farther south, favorable rains of
late mean more improvement is noted in extreme northeastern
Kansas with a trimming of D0 there. Spotty normal rains result
in status quo for Nebraska this week.

In the southern Plains, Oklahoma dried out a bit this week and
the rains that did fall were not enough to warrant improvement
in the Panhandle. With the increasing temperatures, D4 nudges
slightly north in western Oklahoma. Texas sees a second
consecutive week of several changes, mostly for the worse as
things continue to warm up (4-8F above-normal) and dry out save
for spotty convective thunderstorm activity, which continues to
bring some relief to some. As a result, southern and
southeastern Texas see an expansion of drought this week while
extreme northeastern Texas sees a reduction of D0/D1 along with
northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas this week. The
Texas Panhandle sees some shifting around of D3/D4, with most
cases reflecting relative improvement given the recent rains.
Western Texas sees some slight improvements to their drought
situation this week as well.

The West: Changes aplenty this week as spring gives way to
summer and summer heat is making its presence felt with fires
(or the threat of) continuing to steal the impacts spotlight for
many. New Mexico continues to forge into uncharted territory,
with data from NOAA-National Climatic Data Center (records going
back to 1895) showing the past 12 months to be the driest on
record for the state coupled with the past 24 and 36 months
coming in as the second driest on record. Virtually the entire
state falls within the two worst categories on our drought
severity scale, D3 and D4. All eyes will be squarely affixed on
the upcoming monsoon season.

Wyoming sees improvements in the northeastern corner of the
state and degradation in the south, with the trimming of D0/D1
in the northeast and expansion of D2/D3 in the south in
proximity to the Colorado and Nebraska borders.

Colorado’s situation continues to deteriorate under the
influence of summer’s heat, noted by expansion of D2 in the
northeastern corner of the state as well as a slight push north
and west of D3 in the southeastern corner. Fire still remains
front and center with regard to impacts, but rangeland
conditions continue to take a beating all along the Front Range.

Arizona and Nevada both see increases in drought conditions this
week. In Nevada, D2 pushes farther east toward the Utah border
while in Arizona both D2 and D3 expand slightly in the north
central region and within the Navajo Nation.

For a second consecutive week, California sees a push of D2
across all of the Sacramento Valley and points eastward into
more of both the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada. Recent rains in
and along the northwestern coastal ranges have not been nearly
enough to offset the record to near-record year-to-date deficits
that have led to reduced streamflows in many basins.

Pacific Northwest: Much cooler temperatures (4 to 8F) and
beneficial rains bring some slight improvements to parts of
western Oregon and the Cascades, noted by some trimming of the
D0 there and in northern part of the state. D0 and D1 were also
trimmed in the Blue and Wallowa ranges, which also saw good
rains this past week. The improvements spilled over the border
into southeastern and eastern Washington with trimming of the D0
and D1. Idaho also shared in the cooler, wetter weather,
particularly in the Panhandle where D0 and D1 were reduced, and
extreme northwestern Montana also saw some minor reduction of
D0.

Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: For a second consecutive week,
the Big Island’s northwestern shores see degradation in the form
of D3 within the North Kohala District, where D2 was introduced
just last week. Impacts are ramping up with regard to vegetation
stress in the area, particularly pasture conditions.

Alaska sees expansion of D0 and D1 on this week’s map as all-
time record high temperatures (90F and higher was commonplace),
coupled with the recent dryness and low humidity levels, are
starting to take their toll, marked by reduced streamflows and
red flag fire warnings across most of the state’s interior. In
fact, North Pole, Alaska (a Fairbanks borough), has issued a
fireworks ban because of the heightened concerns.

Puerto Rico remains drought free this week.

Looking Ahead: The NWS WPC 5-Day (June 26 - July 1) Quantitative
Precipitation Forecast (QPF) shows the best chances for
precipitation east of the Mississippi River, with the heaviest
rains possible in the Ohio Valley and Northeast as well as the
Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast, where 2-3 inches or more could
fall. West of the Mississippi, prospects look much bleaker with
only modest rains being forecasted. Temperatures over this same
period look to be seasonable or even below normal over the
eastern third of the country in combination with the forecasted
rains. The same can’t be said for the West, where temperatures
will build in concert with the high pressure ridging there,
bringing the prospects of well above normal readings (in the 6-
13 degree range) in California, the Intermountain West, the
Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies.

The 6-10 day (July 2-6) outlooks are showing that temperatures
are likely to stay above normal in the Intermountain West and
Pacific Northwest, including all of California. Alaska will also
stay under the high pressure influence along with the resultant
above-normal temperatures that accompany it. The Northeast
appears more likely to be above normal on the temperature side
too. The central U.S. looks to be cooler than normal from the
Front Range to the Ohio Valley. As for precipitation, the
Southeast and Northeast look to be wetter than normal, as do
parts of southern Nevada, northern Arizona and central New
Mexico in what may signal a start to the monsoon. Below-normal
precipitation is expected in northern reaches of the Pacific
Northwest (Washington over to Montana) and over into the
northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

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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