U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Aug. 20 (Text)

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

This US Drought Monitor week was dominated by a persistent
weather system that dumped precipitation in the South and
Southeast over multiple days.  Radar estimates go as high as 10+
inches in one location in eastern Louisiana. The High and
Southern Plains also benefitted from precipitation, from
southern South Dakota down into Texas while areas of the West
and Midwest remained dry.

The East: The eastern U.S. remains drought free again this week.

The South and Southern Plains:  Beneficial rains fell again this
week across portions of northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and
Arkansas, leading to improvements in drought conditions in
western and central Kansas, western and central Oklahoma, the
Panhandle of Texas, south-central Arkansas, and eastern
Louisiana. Conversely, Extreme (D3), Severe (D2) and Moderate
Drought (D1) expanded in Texas and northern Louisiana and
Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded in Louisiana and southern
Arkansas.

The Central and Northern Plains: Beneficial rainfall continues
to improve drought conditions in western and southern South
Dakota, where Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0)
have abated, and in northern Nebraska where Extreme Drought (D3)
was reduced.  Conversely, eastern parts of Iowa and South Dakota
have seen less precipitation than normal and Abnormal Dryness
(D0) has expanded there.

The Midwest: Lack of recent precipitation is beginning to be
felt throughout the region.  Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded
across eastern Illinois and into western Indiana, in northern
Michigan, and across most of Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.
Likewise, Moderate Drought (D1) expanded in Minnesota and
northern Wisconsin. Cooler temperatures have helped abate the
lack of moisture lately but that could be changing as above-
normal temperatures are expected in the area over the next two
weeks.

The West: Conditions continue to degrade in the northern
sections of the West.  Idaho, western Montana, and northern Utah
experienced an expansion of Severe Drought (D2) and western
Montana saw an expansion of Moderate Drought (D1). Some of this
area has experienced low precipitation for over a year with
wildfire activity increasing as of late.  Conversely, conditions
continue to improve slightly in eastern New Mexico, which
experienced a decrease of Exceptional (D4), Extreme (D3), and
Severe Drought (D2), eastern Colorado where Extreme (D3) and
Severe Drought (D2) conditions eased, and eastern Wyoming where
Severe (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0)
abated.

Wildfires remain a problem in parts of the West.  The National
Interagency Fire Center reported 51 active, large wildfires on
August 20, up from last week.  Large fires continue to 10
western states including Idaho, where the Elk Fire has consumed
over 130,000 acres of vegetation, an increase of over 30,000
acres this week.  According to numerous sources, the cost of
battling wildfires in 2013 has now exceeded $1 billion.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico:  Beneficial rains on the eastern
tip of the Big Island of Hawaii have proven sufficient to meet
agricultural needs in the area.  Abnormal Dryness (D0) was
removed from the area.  Drought continues to expand in southern
Alaska with expansion of Severe (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1).
Agricultural impacts are being felt in the area as soils dry and
temperatures remain above normal. Puerto Rico remains drought
free.

Looking Ahead: During the August 22-26, 2013 time period, there
is an above-normal chance for precipitation mainly in the
Southeast, the extreme Southern Plains, and the Southwest.
Temperatures are expected to be above-normal across the northern
part of the country from Montana through New England and below-
normal on both the East and West Coasts.

For the ensuing 5 days (August 27-31, 2013), the odds favor
normal to above-normal temperatures across the entire contiguous
US, as well as across southern Alaska.  Below-normal
temperatures are favored only in northern Alaska.  Above normal-
precipitation is likely across the northern half of the country
from Maine to eastern Oregon and over most of Alaska.  Below-
normal precipitation is expected in the Southern Plains and the
Pacific Northwest, as well as in northern Alaska.
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