Drought intensity continues to wane in the upper Midwest and into the High Plains as wet weather again made its way across the U.S. this week.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, heavy rain fell across portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley, the northern Plains, the Pacific Northwest, the west-central Gulf Coast region, the general vicinity of the southern Appalachians, and the Northeast. It largely missed the Southwest and California, however, currently where extreme drought is most prevalent.
Drought has nearly exited Iowa, thanks to the precipitation; only two small areas of abnormal dryness, one in the southeast corner of the state, and one in the southwest corner, remain.
In northwest Illinois, four key stations in Mercer County – located in the Northwestern portion of the state along the Mississippi – reported between 4.64 and 5.70 inches of rain for the month of June.
The heavy rains in the past few weeks have also forced closure of several locks and dams along the Mississippi River, due to high water levels.
Two to four inch rains fell over southern and central portions of Nebraska, the Drought Monitor reports, prompting one-category upgrades for these areas. In central and southern Kansas, 2-5 inch rains (locally heavier) warranted one-category improvements, especially in places which received two to three times their normal rainfall for the week.
In Oklahoma, says drought map author Anthony Artusa, widespread one-category improvements were made in the northern portion of the state, due to very heavy rains during the past 30 days.
On June 30th, the Oklahoma Panhandle experienced a very impressive dust storm. In the southeast portion of the state, minor degradations were rendered to the drought depiction.
Texas had an unexpectedly wet week, with very heavy precipitation along the Gulf Coast, the drought report said, and moderate to heavy precipitation in the interior East, supporting one-category improvements.
Relatively small alterations were made to the depiction in southern and far western Texas, both improvements and degradations, Artusa said.
Little if any precipitation was observed in the Southwest during the past week, and in southern California, exceptional drought was expanded across Ventura, Los Angeles, and much of Orange Counties.
In the rain-shadow of the Oregon Cascades, conditions have continued to decline in the Klamath Valley area of the Pacific Northwest, Artusa says.
One-category degradations were rendered to the drought depiction over south-central Oregon, and the area of extreme drought in Nevada has been connected with an adjacent area of extreme drought in the state's northwestern region.
On the other side of the U.S., moderate rain fell over Kentucky and Tennessee during the past 7 days. One-category improvements were warranted in central and eastern sections of Kentucky, except where 30-day and 60-day precipitation deficits favored the retention of D0 conditions, Artusa said.
Northern Alabama and northern Georgia saw moderate precipitation as well, and abnormal dryness was removed from northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.
In contrast, in east-northeast Georgia in the vicinity of the Savannah River, D0 was expanded approximately one county northwestward, the drought map showed.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor