#Drought news: Some D1 (Severe Drought) erased in El Paso County #monsoon

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


Areas of low pressure brought heavy to excessive rainfall to many parts of the U.S. during this past drought week (August 14-21). Some storms brought more rainfall to already inundated areas such as the Northeast, but some activity occurred over drought regions badly in need of moisture, including the Central and Southern Plains, the Midwest, and the South. Other areas, especially along the northern tier of the country, continued to dry out amid a combined lack of rainfall and anomalously high temperatures. Some areas of northern Michigan and Wisconsin averaged daily maximum temperatures 6-8 degrees F above their typical average for this time of year…


Drought has plagued this region, but heavy, and in some instances, extremely heavy rainfalls, (ranging from 1 to 6 inches or more) brought much needed relief as most areas saw vast improvements or, at the very least, no degradation. In extreme northeastern Arkansas, several counties experiencing D2 conditions received 6 or more inches of rain over the past week. In facet, enough rain fell over the state that widespread 1-category improvements were made. Many stations received record rainfall for the month of August, including Long Pool (12.35 inches), Clinton (12.41 inches), and Murfreesboro (12.11 inches), leading to much improved conditions across the state, with no primarily drought and only lingering long-term dry conditions. Similarly, Oklahoma saw drought conditions fade as heavy rains fell, bringing normal conditions back to a large swath of the state stretching from the northwest to the southeast. Conditions also improved in Louisiana, northern, and western Texas, while dryness spread in southeastern Texas…

High Plains

Similar to the Midwest, the northern tier of the High Plains saw conditions continue to dry out over this past week, exacerbated by high temperatures in some areas. Mercer County, North Dakota, for example, saw temperatures reach 104 degrees F on two days and 10 consecutive days of upper 90s. Crops have been impacted as soil moisture is depleted, with very dry topsoil and subsoil. There are reports of corn burning and severely stressed soybeans, among other impacts. As such, areas of abnormal dryness (D0), moderate drought (D1), and severe drought (D2) were expanded in various parts of the state. Eastern Montana saw an expansion of D0, including along the North Dakota border. Nebraska and Kansas, on the other hand, were the recipients of heavy rainfall events, which led to improvements across their drought regions. Although rainfall was 2-6 inches in several inches in places, long-term dryness persists across parts of the regions and thus was not adequate to erase all drought. However, two category improvements (D3 to D1) were made in southeastern Kansas, for example, as the rain did vastly improve conditions there. In Colorado, D1 was reduced in El Paso and Douglas Counties, which received 1 to 4 inches of rain over the past few weeks, improving conditions there….


Most of the West continues to experience dry conditions and drought, with dozens of wildfires burning record acreage; however, while conditions remain poor, no areas required further degradation this week. The only change made this week occurred in far eastern New Mexico, where rainfall was 1 inch or more above average for the week. This allowed for 1-category drought improvements of extreme drought (D3), severe drought (D2), and moderate drought (D1)…

Looking Ahead

Over the next week, beginning Tuesday August 28, up to 2 inches of rain is forecast for western Colorado and western New Mexico, where extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought conditions prevail. No rain to less than half an inch are forecast for most of the remainder of the West. Between 0.1 and 2 inches are forecast for most of the rest of the U.S. at this time. Looking further ahead at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) 6-10 day Outlook (August 26-30), the probability of dry conditions are highest in the Plains, with a bullseye over western Oklahoma, while wet conditions may occur along the northern tier of the U.S., the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. During this period, below-average temperatures are expected in the West while above-average temperatures are forecast for the eastern two-thirds of the country, particularly stretching from the Midwest to the Northeast. Looking two weeks out (August 28 – September 3), above-average temperatures are expected across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and stretching across the southwestern U.S./Mexico border. Below-average temperatures are expected over most of the West. The probability of above-average precipitation is highest over the North and Northwest with the highest probability of dryness expected over western Oklahoma.

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