Drought Monitor: Improvements dot Four Corners, upper Plains

Drought Monitor: Improvements dot Four Corners, upper Plains

Some drought eased in Minnesota and upper Plains states, while drought also calms in Four Corners region

During this Drought Monitor week, stalled or slow-moving cold fronts in the north-central Plains and along the southern Atlantic and eastern Gulf Coasts triggered scattered showers and thunderstorms, some locally heavy, in parts of the northern and central Plains, upper Midwest, central Corn Belt, and from the Delmarva Peninsula southward into Florida.

Light to moderate rains fell on the eastern Tennessee Valley, mid-Atlantic, and western New England. Dry weather finally allowed the southern Plains to recover from weeks of copious rains and severe flooding, with mostly dry weather also occurring in the lower Mississippi and western Tennessee Valleys.

Some drought eased in Minnesota and upper Plains states, while drought also calms in Four Corners region

During the weekend, moisture from the remnants of eastern Pacific Hurricane Andres was pulled into the Southwest, producing light to moderate showers in central Arizona, southeast Utah, southwest Colorado, and New Mexico.

About 40% of the contiguous U.S. is in some form of drought or dryness currently, compared to 43.3% last week and 46% one year ago. About 3% is in the most extreme rating, compared to 3.1% last week and 2.7% one year ago.

See last week's Drought Monitor update.

Slight improvements due to light rain were made in the Northeast where precipitation amounts were large enough to diminish or erase short- and medium-term deficits. In contrast to the improvement in the region, a bit of D0 was extended into Erie and Wyoming counties near Buffalo, N.Y.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms fell on eastern portions of the Southeast, with rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches. Rain exceeding 2 inches was generally enough to eliminate the D0 in southern Virginia, southwestern North Carolina, western South Carolina, northern edges of the D0 and D1 in southern Georgia, and the western edges of the D0 and D1 in southern Florida.

In contrast, no rain fell on north-central Florida, adding to the 90-day deficits of 2 to 4 inches; thus D0 was expanded into this area.


More widespread moderate to heavy rains covered the upper Midwest and middle Mississippi Valley, continuing the wet pattern observed during May. More than 1.5 inches of rain was observed across much of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, Illinois, and northern Indiana, with locally much higher amounts. These beneficial rains fell on the D0 and D1 areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and northern Indiana, allowing for continued improvement in these states.

The exceptions to this occurred where lower totals were measured, namely east-central Minnesota, lower eastern Michigan and in the lower Ohio Valley. These areas were left unchanged, except in the lower Ohio Valley where subnormal rains occurred during the past 60 days, leading to growing short-term deficiencies of 3 to 6 inches. Accordingly, D0 was extended northward and eastward to account for these shortages.

Overall, the crop, pasture, and moisture conditions in the Midwest generally fared well as of June 7, with Kentucky (15%) and Ohio (12%) reporting the largest percentages of topsoil moisture rated short to very short, according to NASS/USDA.

Moderate to heavy rains were reported across portions of the northern and central Plains, including a band of 4-8 inches in southeastern Nebraska, northeastern Kansas, and northwestern Missouri. Additional improvements were made where the rains erased or greatly diminished 60-, 90-, or 180-day deficits.

In Texas, mostly dry weather aided flood recovery efforts to continue, allowing for a re-assessment of conditions with more stable reservoir levels that required some changes to the D0 areas in west-central Texas.

Moisture from the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Andres triggered showers and thunderstorms in the Four Corners region, including 0.5-3 inches in central and northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, and most of New Mexico. Light showers also fell on parts of the Great Basin.

Some one-category improvements were made in areas where the largest totals and 90-day surpluses were located, along with visible impacts.

Despite a small area of Nevada included in the improvements, agriculture there still depends on irrigation from upstream reservoirs or ground water pumping, and this water source has not improved with the recent rains.

For now, rains and cool weather have improved pastures and range ratings into good to excellent categories on June 7. This included: California (35%), Nevada (50%), Utah (65%), Colorado (57%), New Mexico (49%), and Arizona (43%), according to USDA/NASS.

Drought Monitor: Improvements dot Four Corners, upper Plains

Source: David Miskus, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

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