Rain in the Southwest Beneficial, but Not Enough for Long-term Drought Change

Rain in the Southwest Beneficial, but Not Enough for Long-term Drought Change

Cold fronts bring moisture to the Rockies, Great Lakes and Southeast this Drought Monitor week

The northern Rockies, Plains, Great Lakes and Southeast regions all saw cold fronts and precipitation during the latest U.S. Drought Monitor week, though in some cases it was not enough to quench long-term drought conditions in the various regions.

Meanwhile, large parts of the far West, Great Plains, and states east of the Mississippi River had a drier-than-normal week, reports this week's drought map author Richard Heim of NOAA.

Beneficial rains improved drought in southwest Colorado and areas of Wyoming and Utah this week.

In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, cooler-than-normal temperatures helped keep evapotranspiration down, but hydrological impacts were mounting in southern New England from the lack of rain. As such, moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions expanded in New England.

Sept. 22 reports from the USDA indicated that 26% of the topsoil and 20% of the subsoil in New England was short to very short of moisture, and 12% of the pastures were rated in poor to very poor condition.

There were no changes in the Midwest this week, according to the Drought Monitor, as cooler-than-normal temperatures and areas of precipitation kept drought under wraps.

Drought contracted in southeast Georgia and northern Florida this week, but continued dryness in central Alabama and North and South Carolina prompted drought expansions.

In southern Georgia, the dry land peanut crop in at least one county was severely affected by drought and Lesser Corn Stalk Borer damage, and development of the dry land cotton crop was hindered by the drought.

A weather system over southwest Missouri contracted the abnormally dry conditions there, though precipitation deficits further east added D0 on the eastern side of the state.

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Rain in the Southwest Beneficial, but Not Enough for Long-term Drought Change

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No change was made to the Drought Monitor depiction over the central and northern Plains, even though the week was mostly drier than normal. Areas of above-normal rain fell across Kansas, but they had little impact on agricultural conditions, so no improvement was made.

USDA reported up to 55% of the topsoil and 64% of the subsoil short to very short of moisture in some of Kansas' western crop districts, with 23% of pasture and range conditions poor to very poor statewide.

There were several reports of five inches or more of rain in parts of southeast, central, and west Texas for the week, resulting in contraction of D0-D3. On the other hand, continued dryness in northeast Texas and central to western Oklahoma resulted in expansion of D0-D3 in those areas.

While subsoil moisture improved, the USDA reported that topsoils in Oklahoma continued to dry out, with 55% of topsoil and 61% of subsoil statewide short to very short of moisture, and 20% of pastures and rangeland in poor to very poor condition.

Conditions in Texas improved over last week, with 52% of topsoil and 63% of subsoil rated short to very short of moisture, and 34% of pastures and rangeland in poor to very poor condition.

The remnants of Hurricane Odile dropped 2 inches or more of rain along a path from southeast Arizona, across southern New Mexico, into western Texas this week, with locally 5 inches or more reported in many areas along with widespread flooding. The rainfall, however, was not enough to eliminate more than three years of drought in parts of New Mexico.

Further to the north, beneficial rains improved drought in southwest Colorado and areas of Wyoming and Utah. Drought expanded, however, into northwest Montana and the north central prairies and canyons of Idaho to reflect dryness.

Showers in parts of California dropped a few tenths of an inch of rain, but had little effect on drought conditions. Reservoir levels in the state continued to decline and groundwater wells continued to go dry.

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

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.

TAGS: USDA
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