#Drought news: Drought remains entrenched in the Four Corners

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


During the period covering July 17-24, precipitation fell across a vast majority of the East, the heaviest of which flooded parts of Maryland, including the Washington D.C. area. Heavy rains also fell in parts of Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina. In the central U.S., moderate precipitation fell in parts of the High Plains while lighter rains provided little to no relief in parts of Kansas. The drought-stricken areas of Oklahoma and Texas saw little to no precipitation and triple digit temperatures, exacerbating drought conditions…


Across much of the South, no measureable rains fell during the period. This was especially true for Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee received moderate precipitation – generally less than 2 inches, although eastern Tennessee had locally higher amounts of 3-5 inches during the period. Departures during the last 30- and 60-days were generally about 10-25 percent below normal. One of the driest parts of the region was around the borders of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas where two separate areas of extreme drought (D3) were introduced this week. Extreme drought was also introduced in a small area to the west of Dallas, Texas. The drought has been exacerbated by extreme heat. Many locations in Texas have had two straight weeks of maximum temperatures reaching 100 degrees F or more. On July 23, Waco, Texas recorded an all-time high temperature of 114 degrees F. The heat also stretched into Louisiana where, on the 22nd, Shreveport hit 108 degrees F, besting its monthly record. Conditions in some parts of Texas are being compared to the drought of 2010 and 2011. One rancher reported that he had only had 6 inches of rain since January and another reported just 4.5 inches. The persistent heat and dryness has browned grasses, dried up stock tanks and ponds and increased fire danger…

High Plains

Precipitation across this region was scattered during the USDM week. The heaviest amount, generally in the range of 2-4 inches, fell in the eastern Dakotas and parts of Nebraska. Short- and long-term effects of drought/dryness remain along the Canadian/North Dakota border and northeast South Dakota. Recent rains in South Dakota contracted drought along the southern portion of the depiction, but expanded the abnormal dryness (D0) in the western part. Abnormal dryness was introduced in south central South Dakota. In Nebraska, drought/dryness began to creep back into the southeast part of the state where 30-day precipitation departures were apparent. Drought/dryness worsened in Kansas during the period, especially in the eastern half of the state where precipitation deficits have grown. Year-to-date precipitation percent of normal values were 25-50 percent across parts of east central Kansas. Exceptional drought (D4) was slightly expanded in this area and the two areas of extreme drought (D3) were connected. Drought conditions remained unchanged for the most part In Colorado. The lone exception was a slight contraction of exceptional drought in the southeast where heavy rains recently fell. Severe drought was expanded slightly in the north central part of Colorado…


Drought remained entrenched in the Four Corners region but, as the monsoon season begins to ramp up, there is hope that improvement is on the way. In fact, 30-day surpluses of 2-3 inches were common near and west of Flagstaff. Year-to-date precipitation totals were now reaching the positive side. It was reported that the Eastern Rim and the White Mountains have also seen very beneficial rains. As a result of the robust start of the monsoon season, there was some contraction of D3 and D4 in Arizona. In the Pacific Northwest, dryness in Oregon prompted the expansion of D2 across the Cascades and into the Willamette Valley. In California, persistent heat and dryness increased fire danger. As of July 24, it was reported that the Ferguson fire had burned 57 square miles in Yosemite, but was only 25 percent contained. Yosemite Park was closed for the first time in 28 years due to the fire hazard there…

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days, moderate precipitation (2-4 inches) is forecasted to fall in parts of the drought stricken areas of the Midwest and High Plains. The heaviest of these rains is projected to fall in southwest Missouri and eastern Kansas and Oklahoma. The front range of Colorado is also expected to receive 2-4 inches of rain. Elsewhere, lighter precipitation (1-2 inches) is expected to fall in the Northeast, Coastal Carolina’s and south Florida. Temperatures are forecasted to be cooler-than-normal for much of the High Plains and Midwest during the next week. Above normal temperatures are projected for much of the West and East. The 6-10 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center calls for an increased chance of below-normal precipitation in the drought stricken areas of Missouri as well part of the High Plains and Northwest. The probability of above-normal temperatures are highest in the Southwest and Northeast while the probability of below-normal temperatures are the highest in the Southeast.

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