The Weekly Drought Monitor hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows little change from the week before. The West Coast continues to be in the extreme to exceptional categories with little relief in site.
According to the latest report, reservoirs in the West are in aggregate 59% of the historical average which is still above the 41% historical level recorded in the 1976077 drought, but some reservoirs are below 1977 levels. Water restrictions continue. And there's news this morning that more water from Lake Powell will be released into Lake Mead, which is at historical lows. Water managers across the West are struggling.
Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms in the Great Lakes and Midwest regions brought some relief, though the impact was spotty. For example, moderate to heavy rains fell in areas from the northeastern half of Oklahoma, Kansas and Southern Missouri up through southern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota and the southwestern half of Iowa. In some cases, rains were heavy bringing 4 to 8 inches. While east of that area, rains were moderate offering a half-inch or less for the Midwest.
That offered some relief for the heavier hit parts of the country. For areas where it appears the spigot has been turned off - such as Eastern Iowa - show some signs of dryness in the latest monitor map.
In this week's report, the look ahead shows that for Aug. 14 to 18 there could be a "swath of moderate to locallyheavy rain (0.5 to 2.5 inches) from the northernmost reaches of the Cascades, Intermountain West, and Rockies southeastward through most of the Dakotas, the upper Mississippi Valley, the southern Great Lakes Region and the Ohio Valley."
The Southeast could be catching a break as the forecast calls for "little if any precipitation…in much of Georgia and South Carolina." As for drought-stricken areas, the look ahead offers little hope for rain in the near-term. In the next five days, the report notes that weather favors "above-median rainfall from the northern Rockies eastward through the northern Plains, the middle and upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, the upper South, and the Northeast outside of New England. Below-median precipitation is anticipated for Oregon, Nevada, Utah, the Four Corners States, Texas, and adjacent parts of neighboring states. Elsewhere, neither unusually dry nor wet weather is favored."
Check out more information by visiting the U.S. Drought Monitor website. The latest map is below: