#Drought news: #Monsoon related showers were mostly confined to the Four Corners States

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


Despite heat and high humidity levels, parts of the Midwest received significant rain. Specifically, showers and thunderstorms produced at least 2 to 4 inches of rain in parts of the upper Mississippi Valley and environs. However, rain mostly bypassed some Midwestern locations, including the lower Great Lakes region. Outside of the Midwest, showers were generally light and scattered, although spotty rainfall provided local relief from hot weather in the Four Corners States and the lower Southeast. Late in the drought-monitoring period, coverage and intensity of shower activity increased in the Gulf Coast region as a weak disturbance over the Gulf Mexico moved inland and helped to focus rainfall. Most of the remainder of the country experienced hot, mostly dry conditions, leading to an expansion of short-term drought in the south-central U.S. and contributing to an increase in wildfire activity in parts of the West. Temperatures above 100°F were commonly observed early in the period on the Plains, but Midwestern temperatures above 95°F were limited to the southwestern fringe of the major corn and soybean production areas. Late in the period, heat replaced previously cool conditions in the Northwest, while temperatures fell to near- or below-normal levels in much of the Plains and Midwest…

Southern Plains

Hot, mostly dry weather persisted on the southern Plains, although showers wrapped around the region through the southern Rockies and the central Plains. Locally heavy showers also developed in the western Gulf Coast region. The general trend was for a large increase in abnormal dryness (D0), with moderate drought (D1) returning in some areas. On July 25, Midland, Texas, set a July record with its 19th day of triple-digit heat. Previously, Midland had recorded 18 days with high of 100°F or greater in July 1964. Midland also set a July record with 9 days of 105-degree heat—all from July 3-14—eclipsing its July 1995 standard of 6 days. By July 24, topsoil moisture rated very short to short had increased to 81% in New Mexico and 74% in Texas. On the same date, the Texas cotton crop was rated 17% very poor to poor, the highest in the nation ahead of Mississippi (11% very poor to poor)…

Northern Plains

Meanwhile, heat briefly compounded the effects of patchy drought across the northern and central Plains. In South Dakota, triple-digit, daily-record highs for July 20 soared to 108°F in Dupree and 107°F in Timber Lake. On July 24, South Dakota led the nation with 15% of its spring wheat rated in very poor to poor condition, followed by North Dakota at 10%. However, some areas received significant rain during the monitoring period, helping to trim drought coverage in parts of North Dakota and environs…


Several days of cool weather in the Northwest were followed by increasing heat. By July 25, daily-record heat returned to portions of the interior Northwest, where Yakima, Washington, posted a high of 102°F. Some of the West’s most significant short-term drought covered the Black Hills and adjacent areas, where moderate to extreme drought (D1 to D3) persisted. Portions of Wyoming also continued to note deteriorating short-term conditions. Farther south, heat also returned to southern California, where record-setting highs for July 23 rose to 110°F in Riverside and 108°F in Campo. By July 26, two wildfires in California were of particular concern: the 38,000-acre Sand fire near Santa Clarita and the 24,000-acre Soberanes fire near Big Sur. Farther east, monsoon-related showers were mostly confined to the Four Corners States, although rainfall in most cases was not heavy enough to result in improvement in the drought depiction. Still, Douglas, Arizona, received 2.92 inches of rain from July 17-24, with significant totals also observed in neighboring southwestern New Mexico. For much of the Southwest, however, the trend was toward increasing drought coverage and intensity, in part due to hot weather. On July 19, Salt Lake City, Utah, noted its first-ever minimum temperature above the 80-degree mark—the low was 81°F—with records dating to 1874…

Looking Ahead

During the next few days, an active weather pattern will feature the interaction between a disturbance in the Southeast and cold fronts crossing the Plains and Midwest. As a result, 5-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches or more from the Mississippi Delta into the Mid-Atlantic States. Surrounding areas, including the northern and central Plains and the Midwest, could see 1- to 2-inch totals in a few spots. In the West, showers will be heaviest across Arizona and New Mexico, with most other areas remaining hot and dry. Elsewhere, lingering heat will be mostly confined to the lower Southeast, although hot weather will build eastward and return to the High Plains during the weekend.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 2 – 6 calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions can be expected in parts of the Northwest and Southwest. Meanwhile, odds will be tilted toward above-normal rainfall in much of the Southeast, Southwest, and the upper Great Lakes region, while drier-than-normal weather should occur in the Northeast, Northwest, and south-central U.S.

Seasonal drought outlook valid July 21 through October 31, 2016 via the Climate Prediction Center.
Seasonal drought outlook valid July 21 through October 31, 2016 via the Climate Prediction Center.

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