#Drought news: Four Corners gets drenched, water supply outlook still remains sketchy

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

Great Plains

Only a few areas of dryness and drought remain in the Great Plains following the deluges of the last 1 to 2 months. It was wet again this past week, with most sites from the western Dakotas and northern Nebraska southward through central and southeast Texas recording at least an inch of rain. The heaviest amounts (2 to over 6 inches) fell on portions of upper southeast Texas, and in a broad swath from northwestern Texas and most of Oklahoma northeastward through southern and east-central Kansas and eastern Nebraska.

D1 and D0 coverage again declined as a result, with improvements in southwest Kansas and parts of the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. Despite the heavy rains in what is now the driest part of the Plains (southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Nebraska), satellite-derived estimates still showed low levels of groundwater and root zone moisture, and vegetative health remained stressed by dryness. As a result, no changes were made this week.

There were also no changes in the other regions of dryness in the Plains, where the week’s weather was relatively nondescript…

The Rockies To The West Coast

Unseasonably heavy rains fell again this week across a swath from west-central Nevada through portions of Utah, southernmost Idaho, western Wyoming, southwestern Colorado, and adjacent Arizona and New Mexico, partially from tropical cyclone remnants. The rains of the current and past few weeks led to some broad areas of improvement, most notably interior west-central Nevada (to D3), northeastern Nevada and adjacent Idaho and Utah (to D0 in one area), and a broad portion of the Four Corners region. Farther north and west, however, dryness and warmth led to degradations in part of western Oregon, northern Idaho and adjacent Montana, and a few other small patches.

Although this week finally brought an end to the protracted period of D4 conditions entrenched in west-central Nevada, it should be noted that water supplies were practically unaffected by the recent precipitation, remaining alarmingly low. Cutbacks in water availability were not changed, and thus agriculture (which is irrigated) continued to suffer without respite. However, amounts were so unusual that precipitation totals for the last 2 years have moved near to above normal in part of the region. As a result the landscape is looking greener than it has in a long time, and across the state, only 25% of pastureland was short or very short of moisture, the lowest total since October 2011…

Looking Ahead

For the upcoming 5-day period (June 17-21), generally dry and significantly warmer than normal conditions are expected in the central Plains and from the Rockies westward to near the coast. roughly the western half of the country. Only isolated light rain at best is anticipated in areas south and west of Montana and the central sections of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Forecast totals in eastern and northern parts of the Rockies are less than 0.5 inch. At the same time, daily high temperatures are expected to average 9 to 12 degrees F above normal in the Great Basin and central Rockies. The dryness and heat may quickly dry out the recent surface growth in that region, bringing ideal conditions for wildfires to develop and rapidly spread.

In contrast, remnants of Tropical Storm Bill should bring a swath of heavy rain across east sections of Texas and Oklahoma, southern Missouri, the Ohio Valley, the central Appalachians, and (to a lesser extent) part of the lower Northeast. At least a couple inches of rain is expected, with peak amounts approaching 7 inches in southern Oklahoma, and 4.5 to 5.5 inches in southern sections of both Illinois and Ohio.

In the broad area north of this swatch, moderate rains of several tenths to almost not quite 2 inches are expected. Drier conditions are forecast to prevail south and east of the band of heaviest rainfall, with only a few tenths of an inch anticipated in Florida, the central Gulf Coast States, and southwestern South Carolina.

For the ensuing 5-day period (June 22-26), continued above normal temperatures are favored in most of the West, the Rockies, and the Southeast. The odds favor anomalous warmth in the mid-Atlantic, central Appalachians, middle and lower Mississippi Valley, and south-central Plains as well. Enhanced chances for cooler than normal weather are limited to a swath from the northeasternmost Plains eastward through the northern Great Lakes and much of the Northeast. In Alaska, the odds favor above normal temperatures everywhere except the northern fringe of the state, with odds for warmth progressively increasing southward.

Enhanced chances for heavier than normal rain cover the Great Lakes and Northeast, and a small area around the southern reaches of the Arizona/New Mexico border. However, dryness is favored to prevail from the south-central Plains eastward through the lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast. The northwestern quarter of the contiguous states also has increased odds of abnormally light precipitation, as does all of Alaska outside the Aleutians and adjacent southwestern areas.

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