#Drought news: Recent and ongoing wet spell puts a dent in #drought in CO, WY, and neighboring states

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:


An extraordinarily active weather pattern led to flood intensification across the central and southern Plains, culminating in a Memorial Day weekend deluge. The latest round of heavy rain pushed Oklahoma to its wettest month on record, based on preliminary data, supplanting October 1941. Showery weather extended beyond the Plains, reaching into the lower Mississippi Valley, parts of the upper Midwest, and much of the northern Intermountain West. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal conditions dominated much of the eastern U.S., where diminishing soil moisture began to have some adverse effects on pastures and summer crops. In contrast, beneficial rain dampened some of the hard-hit drought areas of the Far West, including parts of Oregon, Nevada, and northern California…

Great Plains

Mostly dry weather returned to North Dakota, but the remainder of the nation’s mid-section continued to receive substantial rainfall. A small pocket of moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) persisted from northeastern Nebraska into eastern South Dakota. Otherwise, the Plains were free of severe drought, with only a few remaining pockets of moderate drought—largely due to lingering hydrological concerns. In Texas, reservoirs were collectively 82.0% full by May 27, up from 73.2% a month ago and 62.5% six months ago. In the last month, reservoir storage in Texas has increased 2.77 million acre-feet.

By May 26, month-to-date rainfall totals climbed to 18.97 inches in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and 14.53 inches in Wichita Falls, Texas. In both locations, those values represent the highest monthly totals on record. Previously, Oklahoma City’s wettest month had been June 1989, with 14.66 inches, while Wichita Falls’ had been May 1982, with 13.22 inches. Oklahoma City’s total was boosted by a daily-record total (3.73 inches) on May 23, part of a broad heavy rain event that led to catastrophic flash flooding in portions of the south-central U.S. In Texas, for example, preliminary USGS data indicated that the Blanco River at Wimberly rose more than 35 feet in less than 8 hours, cresting on May 24 at 27.21 feet above flood stage. The preliminary high-water mark at Wimberly was 6.91 feet above the previous record set on May 28, 1929. The San Marcos River near Martinsdale, Texas, surged more than 51 feet in less than 24 hours on May 23-24, based on initial data…


Similar to the previous drought-monitoring period, Western precipitation boosted topsoil moisture and eased irrigation requirements, but in many states provided negligible relief from long-term, hydrological drought. However, in areas where long-term drought was less deeply entrenched, particularly in Wyoming, Colorado, and parts of neighboring states, the recent and ongoing wet spell has put a meaningful dent in the drought.

While most of the West has experienced an unusually cool, wet May, warmth has prevailed from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. As a result, an emerging area of short-term dryness (D0) has begun to appear near the Canadian border as far east as northwestern Montana…

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days, the western U.S. will experience a warming trend, while near- to above-normal temperatures will continue in the East. In contrast, very cool weather will cover much of the Plains and Midwest. Meanwhile, heavy rain (locally 2 to 4 inches) will lead to additional flooding across the southeastern Plains and western Gulf Coast region. A broader area of the Plains and Midwest will receive 1 to 2 inches, with locally higher totals. Similar amounts can be expected in the eastern U.S., except along the southern Atlantic Coast. Elsewhere, showers in the Rockies and Intermountain West will contrast with warm, dry weather in the Pacific Coast States and the Desert Southwest.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for June 2 – 6 calls for the likelihood of near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation across much of the nation. Enhanced odds of cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to parts of Texas, while drier-than-normal weather will be limited to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Intermountain West.

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