#Drought news: Drought and dryness expanding up and down the High Plains

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


This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw continued intensification and expansion of areas of drought across portions of the Southwest, Plains, lower Midwest, South, Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic. For the conterminous U.S., this past autumn (September-November) was the 10th warmest on record according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). In terms of precipitation this fall, October and November were very dry in various regions with the South experiencing its 11th driest on record and the Southwest its 6th driest. Conversely, areas of the Midwest experienced above normal precipitation with Michigan having its 2nd wettest and Ohio its 5th wettest on record. Looking at changes in drought conditions nationwide during the past three months, the focal point of drought development has been centered over portions of the Desert Southwest, Deep South, and southern Plains while conditions have steadily improved across the Pacific Northwest…

High Plains

On this week’s map, conditions deteriorated in eastern portions of the Dakotas as well as in eastern Nebraska and Kansas. In the Dakotas, areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) expanded as a result of unseasonably warm temperatures and below normal precipitation during the past 30-to-60 days. Moreover, the lack of snow cover and warm temperatures have raised concern in relation to the condition of the winter wheat crop. According to NOAA’s NCEI, North Dakota experienced its 4th driest October-November period on record. In Nebraska and Kansas, below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures during the past 30 days led to the introduction of new areas of Abnormally Dry (D0). During the past week, the region was generally dry and temperatures were well above average (5-to-15 degrees)…


During the past week, the region was dry with the exception of the Pacific Northwest where coastal areas of Oregon and Washington as well as the North Cascades received liquid accumulations ranging from 2-to-3.5 inches. Some lesser precipitation accumulations were observed in the northern Rockies where Water Year-to-Date precipitation accumulations are normal to slightly above normal. In southern California, four rapidly spreading large wildfires (exacerbated by strong Santa Ana winds) broke out this week near Los Angeles and further north in Ventura County. Elsewhere in the region, the Southwest continued to be unseasonably warm and dry leading to expansion of areas of Moderate Drought (D1) across northern Arizona. According to the National Weather Service in Flagstaff, several locations saw their Top-5 warmest autumns on record including: Flagstaff (4th warmest), Prescott (warmest), Payson (2nd warmest), and Winslow (2nd warmest). As a region, the Southwest experienced its 6th driest and 2nd warmest October-November period on record. Further north in Montana, conditions have been improving in the western portion of the state leading to slight reductions in areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1). During the past week, average temperatures were near normal in the Far West and above normal (5-to-15 degrees) across the remainder of the West…

Looking Ahead

The NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for dry conditions across the western U.S., Plains, and lower Midwest while liquid precipitation accumulations of <1.5 inches are expected in the upper Midwest, New England, eastern portions of the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Gulf Coast. Some slightly higher accumulation (2-to-3 inches) are expected across the coastal plains of the Carolinas. The CPC 6-10-day outlook calls for a high probability of above-normal temperatures across the western half of the conterminous U.S. as well as in Alaska while below normal temperatures are expected in the eastern third of the U.S. In terms of precipitation, below normal precipitation is expected across most of the West, southern Plains, South, Southeast, lower Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic while there is a high probability of above normal precipitation for the upper Midwest and western portions of New England.

Here’s a map showing the November temperatures.

Graphic credit: NOAA

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