Drought Expands in Northwest Corn Belt

April 5, 2012 02:38 AM

According to the National Drought Monitor, dsepite widespread rains seen over eastern Iowa, northern Missouri, southern Wisconsin and into Michigan, drought expanded in southeastern Minnesota and into Wisconsin as they have not picked up any of the recent rains and conditions are drying out, especially with the warm temperatures.


Meanwhile, a dry week for the High Plains and some rains in the southern Plains warranted both improvements and some new drought areas. "Up north, the early warm up and dryness that has persisted for the most part since last fall brought with it some new drought regions," it states. "In North Dakota, D1 was introduced in the western part of the state; in Nebraska, D1 was shifted out of northwest Iowa and into northeast Nebraska. Because of standing water in agricultural fields, some D0 was eliminated in southeast North Dakota as there are no apparent moisture issues right now. Through much of the High Plains, temperatures well above normal, high winds and a dry start to spring have started taking a toll on soil moisture conditions as they continue to drop. Producers who are eagerly awaiting planting should have adequate moisture to start their crops but will need periodic and consistent precipitation by the end of spring or problems will arise."

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For the southern Plains, the monitor notes good rains through the Panhandle of Oklahoma and into the southwestern part of the state allowed for a categorical improvement to the drought intensity, with D4 being eliminated in the panhandle. "Good rains through west Texas and in and along the southern border also warranted some improvements, with many areas seeing a reduction in drought intensity and some D4 being eliminated in west Texas," it states. "Portions of east Texas also picked up some rains and even heavier rains and severe weather coming after the end of the current Drought Monitor period. These rains continued the improvements in the region with some D0 being eliminated and D1 improving along the Gulf Coast."

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Over the next five days (April 4-8) precipitation chances continue in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains, where up to an inch of precipitation could be recorded. The central Plains to west Texas along with much of the Southeast look to have a good chance at rains. The most rain is anticipated from southern Alabama and Mississippi into South Carolina, where up to 2 inches may be possible. Temperatures are forecasted to be above normal from the Rocky Mountains (6-9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal) to the Gulf Coast (3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal) and cooler over the west coast with the continuing rain.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (April 9-13) has much of the western and central United States anticipating temperatures above normal while the rains lingering along the east and west coasts are keeping temperatures below normal. Precipitation chances look to be best over the Tennessee River valley, Alaska and northern Pacific Northwest while the best chance for below normal precipitation is in the Great Lakes region and in the southwest from Arizona to Texas.


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