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Midwest Drought Shrinks

April 25, 2013
By: Julianne Johnston, Pro Farmer Digital Managing Editor

According to the National Drought Monitor, drought coverage deceased from the upper Midwest into the western Corn Belt and central portions of the Rockies and Great Plains, while drought intensified and expanded from western Texas into northern California and the Great Basin. The monitor reflects 60.21% of the nation is still covered by some form of drought, down from 61.67% last week.

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For the Midwest, the monitor says heavy rain and wet snow eased long-term drought across western and northern portions of the region. "Liquid-equivalent precipitation of 1 to 3 inches from northern Minnesota into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan eased D0 and D1 (Moderate Drought), as these areas continued to emerge from drought. From southeastern Minnesota into central Iowa, northwestern Missouri and southeastern Nebraska, precipitation totals of 2 to 6 inches resulted in additional, widespread reductions in drought intensity and coverage. However, precipitation totals were somewhat less (1-2 inches) in northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska, where long-term Moderate to Severe (D1 –D2) Drought persisted," it states.

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Looking ahead, the monitor says warmer- and drier-than-normal conditions will spread from the western U.S. eastward into the central and northern Plains. In contrast, a slow-moving, upper-air low will bring wet, cool weather to the Southeast, although rain activity will subside in Florida. "Showers are also expected in central and southwestern Texas; however, the core Exception Drought (D4) areas of the central and southern High Plains will mostly miss the heaviest rainfall. The CPC 6-10 day forecast for April 30 – May 4 calls for warmer- and drier-than-normal weather across much of the west, with dryness extending eastward into the central Plains. In contrast, above-normal precipitation and near- to below-normal temperatures are expected across southern portions of the Rockies and High Plains and from the eastern Gulf Coast into the Great Lakes region," it states.

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