U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Sept. 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 discussion in the Looking Ahead section is simply a
description of what the official national guidance from the
National Weather Service (NWS) National Centers for
Environmental Prediction is depicting for current areas of
dryness and drought. The NWS forecast products utilized include
the HPC 5-day QPF and 5-day Mean Temperature progs, the 6-10 Day
Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, and the
8-14 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability,
valid as of late Wednesday afternoon of the USDM release week.
The NWS forecast web page used for this section is:

Weekly Summary: A series of upper-air troughs and accompanying
strong cold fronts moved across the eastern half of the
contiguous United States during the past week. The East Coast
states, and both the Great Lakes region and Ohio Valley,
received beneficial rainfall with the passage of these cold
fronts. The West was mostly warm (generally 3-7 degrees above
average) and dry, and the monsoonal showers and thunderstorms
that occurred 2-3 weeks ago shut down this past week over the
Southwest. Temperatures in the eastern half of the country
ranged from 4-12 degrees below normal, with the core of the
coolest air centered over the central Corn Belt.

The Northeast: Widespread heavy rain (2 inches or more) and
improving stream flows this past week have resulted in 1-
category improvements across parts of the region. Residual
abnormal dryness (D0) has been removed from southern New England
and portions of New York and western Pennsylvania.

Mid-Atlantic: Heavy rain (2 inches or more) fell across the
higher terrain of western Virginia this past week, with mostly
moderate (0.5 to 2 inches) rain elsewhere in Virginia, and
portions of West Virginia. Accordingly, the abnormally dry (D0)
areas in West Virginia and in western Virginia were reduced in
size. In southern Virginia, 1-category improvements were made in
the I-85 corridor from Mecklenberg County northeastward to
Charles City and James City Counties just east of Richmond. In
Maryland, short-term improvements have been offsetting long-term
rainfall deficits. As a result, the moderate drought (D1)
designation from last week has been retained.

The Southeast: Based on Percent of Normal Precipitation (PNP)
patterns over different time periods, mostly near-normal stream
flows, and a pronounced lack of major impacts, a large portion
of the D0 area in western North Carolina and a small portion of
north-central South Carolina were removed. Rainfall departures
over the coastal plain of North Carolina have become more of a
concern recently, especially during the past 30-days. In the
absence of significant precipitation in the next 7-days, some
degradation in the drought depiction may be needed in this area
next week.  Continuing dryness in Georgia prompted a degradation
from D3 to D4 conditions in the west-central counties of Clayton
and Paulding.

The Ohio Valley: Recent precipitation allowed for a 1-category
improvement in the drought depiction across north-central and
northeastern Ohio, and northwestern Pennsylvania.  In
southwestern Indiana, a large surplus (5-8 inches in the past
30-days) of precipitation will help to recharge soils. This area
will be reassessed next week, with improvements likely.

The Midwest/Upper Great Lakes: Significant changes were deemed
necessary this week to the regional drought depiction,
especially for far southwestern and northwestern portions of
Minnesota, where extreme drought (D3) was introduced. In
general, a one-category degradation was made to a large portion
of the state, including the addition of D1 conditions to the
Arrowhead region. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,
significant improvement is noted as recent synoptic and lake-
enhanced precipitation (weekly totals of 1-4 inches for the
northern half of Upper Michigan) helped to trim back the area of
D0 conditions, now confined mainly to Iron, Dickinson, and
Menominee counties. The Menominee River (along the border with
northern Wisconsin) is very low, and at some points near record
low levels. D0 was also removed from northern Door County (north
of Sturgeon Bay) due to recent rainfall. In east-central and
south-central Illinois, recent rains prompted a 1-category
upgrade from moderate drought (D1) to abnormal dryness (D0),
with additional upgrades possible next week pending reassessment
of conditions.

The Northern Plains: In eastern North Dakota, an area of extreme
drought (D3) was introduced to the counties of Nelson, Grand
Forks, Griggs, Steele, and Trail. In addition to Year-To-Date
precipitation deficits ranging from 6-12 inches, significant
reduction in sub-surface water has also been noticed. Central
portions of the state have experienced additional drying,
prompting a reduction in D0 coverage which now includes only
Sheridan, northern Burleigh, eastern McLean, and northwestern
Wells counties. In central and eastern South Dakota, 1-category
degradations were made in response to a continuing lack of rain.

The Central and Southern Plains: Little or no rainfall this week
resulted in mostly minor degradations across parts of North-,
East-, and South Texas.

The West: Relatively warm and dry conditions prevailed across
most of the West during the past 7-days. Temperatures generally
ranged from 3-7 degrees above average, and 7-9 degrees above
average in western Montana. Very minor adjustments to the
drought depiction were made in southern Nevada (very modest
improvement in part of Clark County) and south-central
California (slight degradation in southern Kern County from D0
to D1).  Minor adjustments were also made in Montana, and two
areas of long-term hydrologic impacts were designated on the
depiction in the western part of the state.

Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: No changes were made to the
depictions for these regions.

Looking Ahead: In the ensuing 5 days, areas of heavy rainfall (2
inches or more) are predicted in a band from Rhode Island
southwestward to the Washington, D.C. area, as well as in a
horseshoe-shaped pattern from the Texas Coast westward across
southern Texas, then heading northward across the Texas
Panhandle and then curving east-northeastward across much of
Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas to southern Missouri. The
southern Plains can certainly use the rain. Unfortunately,
little if any rain is expected to fall across the hard-hit
drought areas in the eastern Dakotas, eastern Nebraska, and the
Upper Mississippi Valley/Upper Great Lakes region.

The CPC 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook is projecting elevated
odds of above-median precipitation across the East Coast states
and upper Ohio Valley, with the highest probabilities (50-
percent) in the Northeast. There are elevated odds of below-
median precipitation over most areas west of the Mississippi
River, with the exception of near-median precipitation forecast
over Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
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