According to the National Drought Monitor, 51.6% of the Midwest is covered by drought, up from 48.5% last week; nearly 11% is covered by "severe" drought, up from 7% last week. The monitor reports for the contiguous U.S., 63.75% of the nation is covered by some form of drought, up more than 2 percentage points from last week.
The monitor states, "Most of the Midwest remained dry this past week, though heavy rain (2-4 inches) fell over a relatively localized portion of west-central Illinois. Positive temperature departures of 4-8 degrees F were common throughout the region, with +10 degree F anomalies over portions of Iowa and southern Minnesota. As a result, widespread 1-category downgrades were made to the drought depiction across northern and southwestern Missouri, southern, central and eastern Iowa, parts of northern Illinois, northeastern and central Indiana, and central and southern portions of both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since July 1st, La Crosse, WI, has received only 2.40 inches of rain, the driest ever July 1st-September 10th period. The previous record was 2.52 inches, set back in 1948."
With winter wheat planting in its early stages in the Central and Southern Plains, more attention will be placed on this region in the near-term. The monitor notes that some light rains were seen across Nebraska, but little if any was reported over Kansas. "One-category downgrades were warranted across southeastern Nebraska, with a one-category improvement made over extreme northeastern parts of the state. These alterations were largely based on 30-day and 60-day SPI values. In Kansas, the area of abnormal dryness (D0) in the northeast was expanded, and D0 conditions were added to southeast parts of the state," it states.
Further south, the monitor states that continued dryness over north-central and northeastern Texas warranted a number of one-category degradations. "In contrast, recent heavy but spotty rains resulted in small areas of improvement across deep southern Texas. No modifications were made to the depiction in west Texas, as dry weather has followed a reasonably wet summer in the region. In Oklahoma, one-category downgrades were made across a significant portion of the state, with remaining drought-free areas in central and eastern Oklahoma deteriorating to abnormal dryness (D0)," is states.
In its outlook for September 12-16, the monitor says to look forward to heavy rainfall (2-4 inches) over New Mexico, Colorado, western Kansas and far southern Texas. Generally light rain (0.5-inch or less) is expected across the Midwest, with high temperatures near-to slightly below normal.