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14 States that Need a Drink

June 29, 2012
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
9 15 11 IL dry

Limited rain fell across the central and northern Plains and Upper Midwest last week, but it provided little relief to states that are facing extensive drought conditions.

This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows dry conditions have worsened in the West and parts of the eastern Corn Belt. These 14 states are all experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah


Watch a six-week animation to see how drought conditions have spread across the U.S.: (click to enlarge)

6 week drought monitor

Here’s a region-by-region breakdown, provided by Richard Heim, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Areas of showers and thunderstorms moved across the Northeast this week with rains locally over 2 inches along the coast and in Maine. Above-normal rain fell over the abnormally dry areas of Massachusetts and Connecticut, but it was not enough to ease long-term deficits. The week was drier than normal further inland. With above-normal temperatures and limited rainfall, topsoil moisture continued to decline in most states.

The Southeast and Deep South: Tropical Storm Debby dropped 5 inches or more of rain over most of the Florida drought areas, with widespread 10+ inch storm totals. Up to 23 inches of rain was reported by a CoCoRaHS observer in Wakulla County. The tropical inundation all but eliminated drought from Florida. Only a small patch of D0 (with an L impact designation) remained along the southwest coast where Debby’s rainfall totals of only an inch or two did little to eliminate deficits which have accumulated over several months.

Soaring temperatures and little to no rain expanded drought across other parts of the Southeast. Temperatures consistently topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the USDM week across northern parts of Alabama and Georgia, baking the dry soils. The Deep South states of Mississippi and Louisiana saw expansion moderate drought. Severe drought grew in northern Louisiana.

The Midwest and Tennessee Valley: Showers in the Upper Midwest brought relief to some drought areas. But further to the south, it was another dry week with 90+ degree temperatures which continued to dry soils, stress crops, and lower stream levels, with abnormally dry and drought conditions expanding over a large area.

D1-D3 grew from Tennessee to Indiana and Illinois, D1 expanded in Ohio, and D0 expanded into southern Wisconsin and eastern Tennessee and slightly in West Virginia. An oval of D1 was introduced to northeast Tennessee-southwest Virginia and to southern Wisconsin-northern Illinois. Expansion and contraction of D0 occurred in Wisconsin and of D0 and D1 areas in Iowa.

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RELATED TOPICS: Weather, Crops, drought

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