Drought Expands in Northern Midwest, Central Plains

Drought Expands in Northern Midwest, Central Plains

Large portions of Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina see improvements in latest Drought Monitor

An unsettled, somewhat milder weather pattern developed over the nation, with locally heavy rain in parts of the south affording some drought relief while drought expanded in Nebraska and South Dakota, U.S. Drought Monitor author Eric Luebehusen of the USDA reported this week.

In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, showers kept drought at bay, though D0 was expanded to include southern Pennsylvania, where rainfall amounts were less than half an inch.

Areas downwind of the Great Lakes reported record snowfall, with rainy, warmer weather at the end of the period enhancing the risk for localized flooding.

Large portions of Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina see improvements but California continues to suffer in three-year drought

Locally heavy rainfall in the Southeast and Delta led to reductions in drought coverage and intensity, but little change was reported elsewhere.

Rain generally bypassed the central Gulf Coast region, where concerns over possible expansion of dryness persisted. In contrast, the southwestern corner of Arkansas received 1 to more than 2 inches of rain, resulting in some removal of D0.

In the Corn Belt, a surge of warm air caused rain to fall from southeastern Iowa into the lower Great Lakes region; precipitation totals for the period averaged one to locally more than 2 inches, preventing any expansion of Abnormal Dryness.

Precipitation supported the removal of the lingering Abnormal Dryness in northwestern Ohio and southern Michigan.

Farther north and west, pronounced short-term dryness resulted in widespread expansion of Abnormal Dryness from Nebraska northward into the Upper Midwest. Impacts during this time of year are generally minor, however.

Despite a mostly dry, warmer week, the depiction over the central Plains remained unchanged. Long-term drought remained entrenched over the central High Plains.

Dry weather in western portions of the region contrasted with locally heavy downpours in the east. The depiction over the southern High Plains remained unchanged, with widespread Severe to Extreme noted from western Kansas into northern Texas.

In Central and Eastern Texas, widespread rains resulted into reductions to drought intensity and coverage.

In the West, unsettled conditions in the north contrasted with ongoing drought elsewhere. Despite the northern precipitation, there were no changes to the drought depiction.

Despite a southward shift of the precipitation over the period, the moisture during the week not sufficient to afford drought relief to California. The rain, which tallied locally more than 2 inches in northern California, will certainly benefit pastures and begin the process of aiding reservoirs. However, the moisture still fell well short of what is needed to ease the impacts of a three-year drought.

Drought Expands in Northern Midwest, Central Plains

Source: Eric Luebehusen, U.S. Department of Agriculture/ The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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