Drought Monitor: Improvement in ECB, Deterioration in Southern Plains

November 8, 2012 01:44 AM

According to the National Drought Monitor, light to moderate precipitation (0.5 to an inch) and a reassessment of medium- to long-term conditions resulted in some 1-category improvements in lower Michigan and parts of the lower Ohio River Valley. Meanwhile, Oklahoma and Kansas recorded little or not precip to slightly expand drought conditions there.


As this was the third straight week with minimal precipitation, a 1-category downgrade was made for east-central Kansas as eastern sections of the state normally record greater cold season moisture than western areas so shortfalls accumulate at a greater rate. "No changes were made in western Kansas and most of Nebraska as much of it is already in D3-D4, leaving little room for downgrade. Topsoil and subsoil moisture continued to drop, and surface water supplies remained short," states the monitor.

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Further north, with light precipitation and subnormal temperatures, no changes were made in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri. In northern North Dakota and westward into Montana, another week of light precipitation (0.3 to 0.8 inches) aided soil moisture conditions, resulting in a 1-category improvement. But drier conditions in southwestern North Dakota slightly expanded D2 there.  

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October, which is usually the third wettest month for the Texas, saw just one-third of normal precip and the ninth driest October statewide since 1895. "This week offered little change to the dry theme as much of Texas and Oklahoma recorded above normal temperatures and little or no rain," states the monitor. "With the recent unfavorable weather conditions, deteriorations were made to Oklahoma (D3 and D4) and most of Texas (D1-D4). With so much of Oklahoma already in D3 and D4, it is getting difficult to degrade the state further. An exception was in extreme southeastern Colorado (Baca County) and the immediate area where further assessment of indices and actual conditions warranted an improvement from D3 to D2. In contrast, the rains in southeast Texas were enough to remove D0 in Polk and San Jacinto counties; however, but drier conditions to the east expanded D0 into southwestern Louisiana while D1 was added in extreme southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana due to short-term (60-day) shortages of 6 to 9 inches."

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During the next 5 days (November 8-12), a Nor’easter will impact the Northeast with strong winds, coastal rains and inland snows before departing this Saturday. Meanwhile, unsettled weather will envelop the West as subnormal temperatures and showers replace this week’s abnormal warmth. The largest precipitation amounts are expected in the northern Rockies and Plains. "Late in the period, a cold front is expected to produce moderate to heavy rain from eastern Texas northward to the upper Great Lakes region. Greatest totals (1.5-2.5 inches) are expected from western Arkansas northward into southern Wisconsin. Temperatures will average above normal in the eastern half of the Nation, and below normal in the West," states the outlook.

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