#Drought news: The Southwest Monsoon kicks up storms over most of #Colorado

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


A stationary front located over the central U.S., along with several systems dropping southeastward out of the Canadian Prairies, triggered widespread moderate to heavy (2 to 6 inches, locally up to 10 inches) showers and thunderstorms from eastern Colorado eastward into Kentucky. The wet and cool weather quickly dashed any thoughts of a possible July flash drought in the central Plains and Midwest. Decent rains (1-3 inches) also fell on parts of the north-central and south-central Plains, along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, the central Appalachians, parts of northern New England, and in southeastern Arizona as the monsoon commenced. Temperatures averaged much below normal (4 to 10 degF) in the Midwest, and subnormal in most of the Northeast, northern half of the Plains, and the Four Corners region. In contrast, seasonably dry and warm conditions enveloped the Far West, while portions of the southern Plains, Delta, and Southeast received little or no rain. Similarly, most of the upper Midwest, north-central Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and coastal New England saw minimal rainfall. Elsewhere, conditions were wet in interior Alaska, the windward sides of the Hawaiian Islands, and eastern Puerto Rico…


Scattered light showers (generally less than an inch) fell on most portions of the D0-D3 area in western South Dakota, southwestern North Dakota, northern Wyoming, and southeastern Montana, enough to maintain – but not improve – conditions from last week. An exception was in southwestern South Dakota where 2-3.5 inches of rain fell on southeastern Custer, Oglala Lakota, and Bennett counties, improving the area by 1 category. In northern Kansas, enough rain (1.5-2.5 inches) fell on Smith and Jewell counties to erase the D0; however, just to the west, Graham and Rooks counties missed the rain, and with 30-day dryness impacts occurring, D0 was added there. As mentioned in the Midwest summary, surplus rains eliminated much of the D0 in eastern Kansas. In north-central Oklahoma, heavy localized thunderstorms dropped 5-8.5 inches of rain on Osage and Pawnee counties, effectively ending the recently added D0 and D1 there. Farther west, the rains were less plentiful, so most D0 and D1 areas remained. Similarly, locally heavy rains also erased D0 in east-central Oklahoma, but dryness expanded eastward into west-central Arkansas where the rains missed. Drier weather in southern and central Texas during the 30-60 days is currently showing up in the SPIs as mild D0 with a few D1s, but seasonable temperatures have limited evapotranspiration rates across the state. As a compromise, D0 was added along the Rio Grande near Maverick County and immediate area where the indices had indicated as the worst spot in the short-term…

Northwest and Northern Rockies

July and August are normally the driest months of the year in the Pacific Northwest, so changes to the drought depiction are usually minor, if any. Similarly, precipitation typically decreases in the northern Rockies during the summer months, so deterioration is not common. However, the lack of rainfall over the past 30-90 days, along with bouts of above-normal temperatures and an early snow melt in the northern Rockies, has depleted soil moisture and lowered stream flows to much-below normal levels. As a result, D0 was added to portions of south-central and eastern Idaho. In coastal Oregon, although springtime precipitation is much lower than the winter, enough rain typically falls on coastal mountains to provide adequate stream flows. This spring, however, a lack of rain and occasional warmth has led to 90-day deficits of 3-6 inches and very low stream flows, thus D1 was added to coastal Oregon. Similar deficits existed in western Washington, but recent rains and lower temperatures were enough to temper the D1 expansion there for now…

California and the Great Basin

Little or no rain fell on California and much of the Great Basin, except for light monsoonal showers in eastern Nevada and western Utah. Since much of this region is climatologically dry and warm during the summer months, any drought degradation or improvement is highly unlikely in this region when dry is the norm, and any rain that falls quickly evaporates. Not surprisingly, no changes were made to the drought in California and the western Great Basin…


The southwest monsoon kicked into gear around July 1 in Arizona, dropping light to moderate amounts (0.5-2 inches) of rain on southeastern and northwestern Arizona, southern Nevada, southern Utah, western New Mexico, and most of Colorado. With the increased moisture and cloud cover, temperatures also averaged slightly below normal. Since this was the first significant precipitation in southeastern Arizona and the D1 –D2 is long-term, it will take a few more events before any improvement is warranted there. Elsewhere, the rains were enough to prevent deterioration, but not great enough for any improvement. Therefore, no changes were made to the Southwest this week…

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (July 7-11), moderate precipitation (more than an inch) should fall along the northern tier of States (Washington-Oregon eastward to New England), and in the northern and central Great Plains, Midwest, Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, and Appalachians. The greatest totals (more than 2.5 inches) were forecast for North Dakota, the western Corn Belt, the Tennessee Valley, and northern New England. Little or no precipitation was expected for the southwestern quarter of the Nation, the southern Plains, and Florida. Temperatures should average below-normal in the West, northern Plains, upper Midwest, and New England, with above-normal readings in the southern Plains and along the southern and mid-Atlantic Coast States.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 12-16 favors above-median precipitation along the U.S.-Canadian border, the Midwest, Tennessee Valley, southern Appalachians, and northern Alaska, with sub-median rainfall probable for most of the West and Rockies, south-central Plains, along the Gulf Coast, and in New England. Temperatures are likely to be subnormal in the northwestern quarter of the nation, while the odds favor above-normal readings in most of the eastern half of the U.S., southern Plains, and Alaska.

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