Much of the U.S. experienced dry weather over the Drought Monitor week, reducing topsoil moisture but helping harvest, says this week's author Eric Luebehusen.
On the Plains, some producers awaited rain before planting winter wheat. Pastures in portions of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States continued to suffer from the effects of late-summer and early-autumn dryness.
In contrast, locally heavy showers soaked Florida's peninsula and the immediate southern Atlantic Coast. Significant rain also fell—albeit briefly—in parts of the Midwest, providing localized relief from recent dryness.
In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, warmer- and drier-than-normal weather prevailed over much of the region during the 7-day period, causing soil moisture and streamflows to decline further.
Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded from West Virginia and Maryland northeastward into New England. In eastern New England, Moderate Drought (D1) expanded northward across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine.
Late-season heat and dryness persisted in the Midwest and lower Ohio Valley, causing rapidly declining conditions after a favorably wet start to the summer. Above normal temperatures coupled with a lack of rain in southern and western portions of the region led to an expansion of D0 and D1.
Pronounced short-term dryness led to the introduction of D0 over central Missouri and along and south of the Ohio River, and many locales are approaching or entering the early stages of drought, with pockets of D1 introduced in southern Indiana, central and eastern Kentucky, and the northern Tennessee border.
Highly variable weather prevailed in the Southeast and Delta, with locally heavy rainfall in southeastern areas contrasting with unfavorable dryness farther north and west.
A stalled storm system coupled with abundant tropical moisture triggered heavy downpours in southern Florida, eastern Georgia and central South Carolina, reducing drought intensity and coverage in areas with the heaviest rainfall.
Meanwhile, western portions of North Carolina missed out on the rain. Extreme Drought expanded over northwestern Louisiana and central Mississippi, reflecting 90-day rainfall as low as 25% of normal.
Dry, unseasonably warm weather in the Central Plains resulted in continued or worsening drought depictions there.
Rain fell after the close of the Drought Monitor week in the central Plains; it will be accounted for in next week's drought assessment.
Warm, dry conditions in eastern and southern portions of the Northern Plains and Dakotas contrasted with showery, chilly weather farther west.
D0 expanded over southeastern South Dakota and precipitation deficits were noted in the newly introduced D0 over eastern Wyoming. Dryness was also noted into southwestern South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska.
The overall trend toward intensifying "flash drought" in the Southern Plains and Texas continued, though widespread moderate to heavy showers eased D0 and D1 over central and southern Oklahoma.
At the end of the period, showers and thunderstorms were overspreading northern Texas and western Oklahoma, areas generally devoid of drought at this time.
The overall trend toward drought persistence in the Western U.S. continued, though pockets of beneficial rain were noted in the northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest, and lower Four Corners. The west was generally cooler than normal, easing stress on pastures, crops, and livestock.
Across the California and the Great Basin, drought remained unchanged as the region continued through its climatologically dry summer season.
In the Four Corners States, a late-season surge in monsoon rainfall was enhanced by moisture associated with Tropical Depression 16E, resulting in reductions of D1 and Severe Drought (D2) coverage in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.
Source: Eric Luebehusen, U.S. Department of Agriculture/The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a 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.