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No Relief to Midwestern Drought Conditions

June 15, 2012
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor

 

A stalled frontal across the Gulf Coast and series of Pacific storm systems produced unseasonably heavy rains in the Southeast and Northwest while dry and warm weather in the Nation’s midsection accelerated drought conditions from Colorado to Indiana.
 
AgDay shares the latest drought conditions:
 

 
David Miskus, Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, reports that during June 15-18, a mostly tranquil weather pattern will envelope the lower 48 States, with storm systems tracking along the U.S.-Canada border and across Canada.
 
In the upper Midwest, western Corn Belt, and northern Plains, however, stalled frontal systems are forecast to drop moderate to heavy rains (1 to 3 inches) on most of Nebraska, Iowa, eastern Minnesota, and western Wisconsin. Scattered light showers may fall along the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts, including Florida, and in northern New England. Most of the West, Southwest, Southeast, and East will be dry. Temperatures should average above-normal from northern California into the central Rockies and Plains and northeastward into the Great Lakes region.
 
Subnormal readings are expected in the Northwest, southern California, and along the East Coast.
The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for June 19-23 calls for increased odds of above-normal precipitation in the Great Lakes region, Florida, and eastern Alaska, while the best chances for subnormal rainfall was over the southern Plains and western Alaska. The remainder of the lower 48 States had no precipitation tilt either way.
 
drought monitor 6 14 12
 
Here’s a summary of the drought conditions, by region:
 

The East:

After last week's wet weather along the entire Atlantic Seaboard (Florida to Maine), rainfall diminished from North Carolina to Maine, but dramatically increased across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, western North Carolina, and southwestern Virginia. The combination of tropical Gulf moisture and a stalled front with waves of low pressure along it produced widespread showers and thunderstorms that dumped heavy to copious amounts of rain along the central and eastern Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts, generating severe flash flooding.
 
With increased rainfall since late April and early May along the East, this week's deluge in the southern Atlantic Coast States continued to ease or erase any short, medium, and long term deficits, and a general 1-category improvement was made to most areas in southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
 

The Mid-South:

As previously mentioned in The East narrative, central Gulf Coast locations (southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama) received copious amounts of rain (more than 4 inches; locally 15-20 inches in southern Alabama), alleviating most short- and medium-term deficiencies (out to 90- and 180-days).
 

The Midwest:

Warmer weather pushed into the Midwest after last week's brief cool down as temperatures averaged near to slightly above normal (0 to 3 degF) in the central and eastern Corn Belt (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio), and above-normal in the western Corn Belt and upper Midwest (3 to 7 degF).
 
This came after near-record May warmth as monthly temperatures averaged 5 to 6 degF above normal in the Corn Belt. Highs reached into the upper 80s in the east, and low 90s in the west. Rainfall was lacking during the first 5 days of the week, but a cold front late in the week finally triggered showers and thunderstorms across much of the Midwest. Light to moderate amounts (0.5 to 1 inch) fell on most of Minnesota, western Wisconsin, UP of Michigan, western Iowa, most of Missouri, and southern Illinois, with locally heavy rains (more than 2 inches) in extreme northwestern Minnesota, UP of Michigan, southwestern Iowa, and southwestern Missouri.
 
Farther east, however, little or no rain fell on lower Michigan, eastern Wisconsin, northern and eastern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, southeastern Iowa, and east-central Missouri. Even with the end of week rainfall, widespread deterioration occurred due to the continued subnormal precipitation, increased temperatures, and high moisture demand for the emerging crops.
 

The Plains:

Early in the week, scattered showers and thunderstorms dropped decent rainfall (more than 2 inches) in the north on southeastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, and northeastern North Dakota, and in the south on southern Oklahoma, central, northeastern, and southeastern Texas, and Texas Panhandle (around Lubbock). After a dry April (Texas) and May (Oklahoma and northern Texas), abnormal dryness and drought had crept back into most of central Oklahoma and eastern Texas, but recent rains have made this area drought-free again. In southern Texas, however, another mostly dry week called for some expansion of D2.
 
The heavy rains in southeastern Wyoming, northwestern Nebraska, southwestern South Dakota, and northeastern North Dakota were enough to diminish D1 and erase D0 there. In the central Plains, however, little or no rain, unseasonable prolonged warmth (since March), windy weather, and increased water demand by crops and pastures have rapidly deteriorated conditions to where impacts are worse than what would be expected.
 

The West:

This week saw unseasonably cool conditions (weekly temperatures averaged 4 to 10 degF below normal) in the Far West, and unsettled weather in the Northwest (1 to 3 inches precipitation in western and northeastern Washington, western and northeastern Oregon, northern and central Idaho, western Montana, northwestern Wyoming).
 
For More Information
See your local weather forecasts, with AgWeb's Pinpoint Weather.
 

 

 

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RELATED TOPICS: Weather, Crops, drought

 
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