Drought Expands in Upper Midwest

April 12, 2012 02:39 AM

According to the National Drought Monitor, little or no precipitation fell over the drought areas of the upper Midwest and northern Plains. Meanwhile, 1 to 2 inches of rain fell on northwestern and southeastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois, but missed the newly expanded D0 and D1 areas.


"Based upon short-term and 6-month departures, D2 was slightly increased in northwestern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota, D1 in west-central Wisconsin, and D0 across central Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan. In contrast, the D1 in northwestern Minnesota was scaled back after AHPS 6-month precipitation indicated surpluses," notes the monitor.

midwest dm041012

Meanwhile on the Plains, a scattering of moderate (0.5 to 1.5 inches) to heavy (1.5 to 4 inches) rains fell on parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, eastern Colorado and southern Nebraska, but from central Nebraska into the Dakotas, little or no rain was measured. Rains of 1 to 3 inches on northeastern Texas were enough to remove the small D1 area there and cut back on some D0. "In southwestern Texas (Stockton and Edwards Plateaus), 1 to locally 4 inches of rain diminished D3 to D2. And a reassessment of SPI products and agricultural reports indicated improved conditions in the Coastal Bend area where a 1-category improvement was made," states the monitor.

south dm041012

In northern Kansas, southern Nebraska, and eastern Colorado, 1 to 2 inches of rain eliminated the short-term dryness (D0), while a reassessment of conditions was made in southwestern Kansas. "Based upon several precipitation and soil moisture products out to 6-months, no large-scale deficiencies were found, and instead surpluses existed," states the monitor. "But at 12-months and beyond, the deficits were there. Accordingly, the D0-D3 was adjusted for improvement at 6-months and less (1-category), but not entirely removed due to the longer-term drought signal. Most of the shortages had accumulated during the hot and dry summer months of 2011 when normals are much larger than the fall and winter months. In the northern Plains, however, another dry and mild week further depleted soil moisture as accumulated short-term deficiencies slowly increased. Based upon the 60-, 90-, and 120-day anomalies, D0 expanded in central South Dakota while D1 spread into north-central and southwestern South Dakota and western Nebraska."

Over the next five days (April 11-15), unsettled weather will move along the West Coast, track into the northern and central Rockies, and eventually into the Nation’s midsection. The northern coast of California and the Sierra Nevada may receive decent precipitation, while a swath of moderate to heavy precipitation is expected to fall from northeastern Texas northward into Iowa. Temperatures are forecasted to be subnormal in the southwestern quarter of the U.S. and above-normal in the northern Plains, and from the Great Lakes region and New England southwestward into the lower Mississippi Valley.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (April 16-20) has favorable odds of above-normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and in the eastern third of the Nation (except for New England). Chances for subnormal precipitation are likely from the Southwest northeastward into the upper Midwest. Wet conditions are likely for southeastern Alaska, with subnormal precipitation expected in western parts of the State. Temperatures are forecasted to be above-normal in the West, Southeast, and interior Alaska, and below-normal in the southern third and northern Great Plains and upper Midwest.


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