#Drought news: The Front Range and parts of the South Platte and Arkansas basins are drying out

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


Large sections of the nation experienced dry weather, reducing topsoil moisture but promoting summer crop maturation and harvesting. On the Plains, some producers awaited rain before planting winter wheat. Pastures in portions of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States continued to suffer from the effects of late-summer and early-autumn dryness. In contrast, locally heavy showers soaked Florida’s peninsula and the immediate southern Atlantic Coast. Significant rain also fell—albeit briefly—in parts of the Midwest, providing localized relief from recent dryness. Above-normal temperatures dominated the Plains and upper Midwest, favoring fieldwork and helping to push summer crops toward maturity. The late-season warmth also extended across the Great Lakes region and into the Northeast. Meanwhile, cool air settled across the southeastern and northwestern U.S. for several days, helping to hold weekly temperatures more than 5°F below normal in a few locations. Elsewhere, locally heavy showers dotted the West, with the most significant rain falling in the lower Southwest, southern California, and the northern Intermountain region. California’s rain, heaviest along and near the coast, fell mostly on September 15 in conjunction with tropical moisture associated with former Hurricane Linda, while Southwestern rainfall was courtesy of Tropical Depression 16E later in the period…

Central Plains

Dry, unseasonably warm weather maintained or worsened dryness over the central Plains. With sunny skies and temperatures topping 80°F from Colorado into Kansas and central Nebraska, Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) remained or expanded. Precipitation deficits are most pronounced at 60 days, with rainfall tallying less than 50 percent of normal in D0 areas, and locally less than 25 percent of normal in the D1 region of central Kansas. The rain which has since fallen over the central Plains will be accounted for in next week’s drought assessment, as the data cutoff for inclusion into the assessment is Tuesday morning…

Northern Plains and Dakotas

Warm, dry conditions in eastern and southern portions of the region contrasted with showery, chilly weather farther west. Despite year-to-date precipitation averaging near to above normal, Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded over southeastern South Dakota and immediate environs where 90-day rainfall has totaled 60 percent of normal or less (locally less than 40 percent). Similar precipitation deficits were noted in the newly introduced D0 over eastern Wyoming, while 60-day rainfall totaling a meager 15 to 40 percent of normal led to the expansion of Abnormal Dryness into southwestern South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska. Farther west, below-normal temperatures were accompanied by periods of rain (1-2 inches, locally more), though rain was generally not sufficient to alleviate longer-term (9 months and beyond) precipitation deficits…

Southern Plains and Texas

Despite areas of beneficial rain in the north and west, the overall trend toward intensifying “flash drought” continued. After record-setting rainfall over central and eastern Texas in May, sharply drier weather over much of the state during the summer resulted in rapidly deteriorating conditions despite longer-term precipitation surpluses. To illustrate, the 6-month precipitation in Texas’ core Extreme Drought (D3) area from just east of Austin to Nacogdoches still stands at 120 to 150 percent of normal. However, over the past 3 months, this same area has received a meager 10 to 20 percent of normal. With another hot, dry week, the drought intensity and coverage expanded over much of the Lone Star State. Exceptions included the Red River Valley, where rain totals greater than an inch resulted in localized reductions in drought intensity and coverage. Farther north, widespread moderate to heavy showers (1-3 inches) eased Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) over central and southern Oklahoma. At the end of the period, showers and thunderstorms were overspreading northern Texas and western Oklahoma, areas generally devoid of drought at this time…

Western U.S.

The overall trend toward drought persistence continued, though pockets of beneficial rain were noted in the northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest, and lower Four Corners. The west was generally cooler than normal, easing stress on pastures, crops, and livestock.

In the north, most of the region’s core Extreme Drought (D3) areas were dry. However, moderate to heavy rain on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (2-4 inches, locally more) staved off D3 expansion. Farther east, 1 to 3 inches of rain eased drought intensity and coverage over central and southern Idaho, though northern portions of the state remained dry.

Across the California and the Great Basin, drought remained unchanged as the region continued through its climatologically dry summer season. Some showers associated with the remnants of Hurricane Linda were noted along the coastal regions of southern California, though the totals (mostly less than 2 inches) were not sufficient to warrant any reductions to the Extreme (D3) to Exceptional (D4) Drought.

In the Four Corners States, a late-season surge in monsoon rainfall was enhanced by moisture associated with Tropical Depression 16E, whose remnants tracked from Baja, Mexico onto the central Plains. While passing over the Southwest, the remnants of 16E generated 1 to as much as 4 inches of rain, resulting in reductions of Moderate (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) coverage in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico…

Looking Ahead

A cold front infused with tropical moisture will remain the focus for locally heavy showers, primarily from the southern High Plains into the upper Midwest. Additional rainfall in the vicinity of the front could reach 1 to 3 inches in a few spots. Meanwhile, a low-pressure system will drift westward toward the middle and southern Atlantic Coast, bringing a mid- to late-week increase in rainfall. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 5 inches or more in the Carolinas and parts of neighboring states. Warm, mostly dry weather will cover the remainder of the country, except for some late-week showers in the Northwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for September 29 – October 3 calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures nationwide, with near-normal temperatures confined to the Pacific Coast States. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions over the Southeast and from the north-central Plains into the western Corn Belt will contrast with drier than normal conditions across the central and eastern Great Lakes Region and from the lower Four Corners into central and northern Texas.

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