Midwest and Plains Drought Continues to Expand

September 15, 2011 09:04 AM

According to the National Drought Monitor, Tropical Storm Nate missed the mark in the Gulf Coast region, failing to bring needed relief to the Southern Plains. However, wet areas of the Southeast got a chance to dry out somewhat.

An expansion of Severe Drought (D2) leads to a band connecting Indiana with Illinois and Iowa to the west across the heart of the Corn Belt," notes the monitor. A slight expansion of D1 is also noted in the same region. Although this won’t affect this year’s corn crop, it has stressed beans and pastures and will have us keeping an eye on the off-season soil moisture recharge heading into next growing season."

In the Southern Plains, cooler weather was welcomed across most of Kansas and down into Texas, but it failed to bring much, if anything, in the way of rainfall this past week. "A slight push northward of D0-D2 is depicted this week across northern Kansas, and northeastern Oklahoma saw an increase from D2 to D3 as well. Texas conditions continue to deteriorate what little they can from abysmal, with expansion of D3-D4 noted in the southeast, central, south-central, Big Bend region, and extreme south around Brownsville," states the monitor. "The lack of tropical activity (Nate fizzled out and drifted into Mexico well to the south this week) and better odds of a second consecutive La Niña winter only add fuel to this well-fed and entrenched drought."


In the outlook, the Drought Monitor says the next 5 days (through September 19) show a good chance for cooler weather across all but southern Texas, the northern Rockies and across Montana and Wyoming. Precipitation is expected to be favorable across Colorado, eastern New Mexico, the central Plains (eastern Kansas and northern Oklahoma in particular) and into Missouri and the middle Mississippi Valley. Some of the coastal regions in the mid-Atlantic could also see some more in the way of the wet stuff.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (September 20-24) is calling for a change in the short-term pattern with above-normal temperatures likely across the majority of the country (including central interior Alaska) except for the Southeast, which looks to be below-normal during the period as does western Alaska. Precipitation is more of a mixed bag with most of the West, Great Plains, lower Mississippi Valley and western coastal Alaska more likely to see below-normal readings while the Northeast and southern Alaska are forecast to be above-normal.



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