U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending July 26 (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 and Mid-Atlantic:  Short-term dryness led to an
introduction of D0 in eastern and northern Maine. Vermont, New
Hampshire and eastern New York also shared in a slight reduction
of D0 compared to last week. Moderate rains across a good
portion of Pennsylvania led to 1-category improvements and this
trend continued down into parts of northwestern Maryland, West
Virginia and western Virginia. In the Carolinas, favorable rains
improved the D1 along coastal South Carolina and led to a
reduction of D0 in eastern North Carolina as well. Low
streamflows and ground water levels have led to a slight
expansion of D2 in the Delmarva Peninsula.

The Southeast:   Good rains (3 to 5 inches) fell across most of
Tennessee, and parts of central Alabama also shared in good
rains last week, leading to widespread 1-category improvements
this week. Alabama continues to be affected by the long-term
nature of multi-year D2-D3 entrenched across the eastern half of
the state. This pattern continues across the border into
Georgia, which has not seen much rainfall of late either,
leading to an expansion of D3 and D4 in north-central and
northwestern locales.

The Midwest: Most of the region registered above-normal
temperatures for the period ending Tuesday morning. In fact,
preliminary data show that July came in at 5-10 degrees above
normal for the month of July. The region continues to be
impacted not only by oppressive heat, but also by depleted soil
moisture, desiccated pastures and widespread crop damages,
livestock culling and elevated fire risk. Recent concerns have
now turned to soybeans and water supply as the drought’s
duration persists. Some fared a bit better than others; southern
Minnesota and southern and eastern Wisconsin benefitted the most
from rains, leading to general 1-category improvements this
week. Rains also fell across northern Indiana and southern
Michigan, leaving things pretty much unchanged from last week.
That said, there is a slight expansion of D3/D4 across western
and central Indiana. Much of southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky
also saw measurable improvement on the order of 1-category this
week, pushing the drought to the west. Longer-term impacts still
remain even given the short-term relief, but parts of eastern
Kentucky and Ohio are seeing a rebound in streamflows, which is
a good sign. In the western half of the region, things continue
to worsen across Missouri and Arkansas, with continued
deterioration and encroachment of D3 and even D4.

The Great Plains:   Expansion is noted across most of the region
this week as abnormally hot temperatures (5 to 10 degrees above
normal) continue to plague the region, bringing stress to
pastures, crops, livestock/wildlife, trees and humans alike.
Rainfall during the last week was confined to small patches in
the Black Hills and northeastern South Dakota and southeastern
North Dakota. Those areas receiving the 2- to 3-inch rains were
improved 1-category in the Dakotas. The same can’t be said to
the rest of the region as D1-D3 continue to advance across more
of eastern Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma
and the Texas Panhandle. In Kansas and the Panhandles of
Oklahoma and Texas, D4 has also expanded, given the intense
conditions and extreme impacts being observed. These areas can’t
seem to shake off last year’s drought and have now been dragged
back into it this year, with the exception being southeastern
Texas, which has continued to see a much more favorable wet
pattern the past several months.

In addition to the large geographic footprint of this year’s
drought, the quick onset and rapid ramping up of intensity,
coupled with extreme temperatures and subsequent impacts, has
really left an imprint on those affected and has set this
drought apart from anything we have seen at this scale over the
past several decades.

The West:  The West remains relatively quiet in most parts, with
the West Coast benefitting from below-normal temperatures last
week as well. Warmer temperatures continue to plague the Rockies
and Front Range while precipitation was mostly confined to
Arizona and Colorado, where monsoon rains continue to bring
relief. Changes this week on the map are marked by 1-category
improvement (from D3 to D2) in north-central and southwestern
Colorado as well as eastern Utah. The same can’t be said for
southeastern Colorado, where D3 has now expanded to cover this
region as well as northeastern New Mexico, western Kansas and
the Oklahoma Panhandle. To the north, Montana has seen recent
dryness as well, leading to a slight expansion of D0 across the
northern tier counties.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico:  Most of the islands continue
with the status quo this week, but deterioration is noted on
both Kauai and Molokai this week, where lowland dryness
continues to hinder pasture growth and is hampering livestock

Alaska and Puerto Rico remain unchanged this week.

Looking Ahead:  The 5-day forecast (August 1-6) calls for a
mixed bag of potential, with the best chances of precipitation
being located over western Colorado, the northern and Central
Plains (including northwestern Minnesota), parts of the Upper
Midwest, the Northeast and the Southeast. Temperatures are
expected to be above normal in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast,
and Southern Plains while the Northern Plains may come in a bit
cooler than normal.

For the period August 7-11, a continuation of the recent pattern
is expected to persist with above-normal temperatures dominating
most of the country, the areas of exception being the West Coast
and Florida. Below-normal precipitation appears likely in the
southern and east-central Plains spreading into Missouri and
northern Arkansas. Those areas projected to see a greater
likelihood of precipitation are the Four Corners, Upper Great
Lakes, Gulf Coast, Atlantic Seaboard and the northern tier
states in the Northeast from New York to Maine.
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