According to the National Drought Monitor, many areas of the United States found some drought relief in a series of storms from Texas to New Hampshire. "Agricultural sectors from New Mexico to Illinois continue to experience stress on crops and rangelands, particularly in non-irrigated areas. Drought recovery is slow in the heart of the states with exceptional drought," according to the report.
Abnormally dry conditions have developed in the Ohio River valley, from Indiana to the Mississippi River. Recent reports indicate that corn and other crops are showing signs of stress. Soil moisture is running lower than normal in this area, and is especially impacting fields with sandier soils, the Drough Monitor reports. A large D0 is introduced this week, with two areas of moderate drought in Kentucky. Precipitation data for the last 30 days show shortages as well, the report continues.
In northwestern Ohio, a respite from the dryness has arrived and reductions in both D1 and D0 are made following recent precipitation, and reduced reports of impacts. "Elsewhere, abnormally dry conditions were alleviated in northern Illinois, southwest Iowa and southeastern Nebraska," according to the Drought Monitor. Even with the removal of D0 conditions in these areas, there are still pockets of residual dryness too small to depict on a National scale. "Further west, two new areas of D0 are introduced in northeastern South Dakota and in the Black Hills. Rainfall deficits are beginning to accumulate this season, and stress in the later-planted soybean and corn fields south of Aberdeen is apparent," the report says.
"Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s dry streak continues, and moderate drought is introduced from Houghton and the Keweenaw Peninsula to Marquette," the report states. Abnormally dry conditions are expanded from there, eastward along the northern shore. According to the Drought Monitor report, on the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Flint and the surrounding region have fared better, and the map now depicts no dryness.
U.S. Drought Monitor's outlook for the next few days includes a ridge holding over the western U.S. and a trough in the East. Accompanying this weather pattern is drier and warmer in the West, and wetter and cooler in the East. Cooler conditions may affect most of Alaska with wetter areas along the south and southeast with this large-scale weather pattern. Should this forecast verify, precipitation in the eastern states could further alleviate drought concerns that have been in place for many months.
In the Drought Monitor's extended outlook, this same pattern is projected, and could prove beneficial after this year’s long drought period. "The majority of the exceptional drought areas fall in between the wet and dry regions to the east and west, so some improvement may come in the form of localized systems, but no drought-busters are in sight at this time," according to the report.