#Drought news: Conditions are rapidly deteriorating through most of the High Plains Region

Click on a thumbnail graphic below to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor.

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

This Week’s Drought Summary

Significant rainfall missed most areas of dryness and drought across the contiguous 48 states, with improvements limited to part of the northern Intermountain West, central Kansas, and a few isolated spots in both Oregon and upstate New York. Elsewhere, dry conditions persisted or intensified. In particular, abnormally hot weather, low humidity, and gusty winds have led to rapidly-intensifying dryness across the Plains States. Extreme drought expanded in northern New Mexico, part of central and western Oklahoma, eastern Colorado, and western Kansas while broad areas of abnormal dryness and some moderate drought were introduced farther north…

High Plains

Conditions are rapidly deteriorating through most of the High Plains Region. Moderate to isolated heavy rainfall was observed in a few small areas in central Kansas, northeastern Nebraska, and adjacent South Dakota, but precipitation was scant and short-lived elsewhere. Improvements were introduced in central Kansas, but this is very much the exception. Although rainfall deficits only date back a few weeks to a few months, other factors are making things worse, specifically abnormal heat, low humidity, and gusty winds. High temperatures approached triple-digits as far north as South Dakota. All these factors led to broad areas of deterioration in eastern Colorado, southern Kansas, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and adjacent parts of Nebraska. Notably, extreme drought (D3) expanded to cover a large part of southern and eastern Colorado, and adjacent parts of Kansas…


Some northern parts of the region experienced another wet week while areas west and north of the Four Corners saw little or no rain. Exacerbating the dryness, temperatures averaged at least a couple degrees above normal in most dry areas, with weekly anomalies approaching +10 degrees F from the Great Basin northward into western Montana. Between 1.5 and 3.5 inches of rain fell on northeastern Oregon and adjacent Idaho, and from the Oregon and Washington Cascades westward to the Pacific Coast. The highest elevations in the Cascades and coastal ranges recorded 4 to 7 inches in a few spots. Elsewhere, only patchy light showers were noted in the rest of the Northwest and in parts of New Mexico, and other areas reported little or none. Recent rains have been sufficient to improve or remove dryness from western Idaho southward through the northern Great Basin, and in parts of western Oregon. In sharp contrast, conditions deteriorated along the southern tier of Montana and through parts of the Intermountain West, where precipitation has been much less abundant the past few weeks. Severe drought (D2) was introduced in southwest Montana…


Drought continues to rapidly develop and intensify across most of Texas and Oklahoma, with patchy dryness beginning to develop farther east in western Tennessee and adjacent Mississippi. Central parts of the region, soaked by heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Cristobal last week, remained free of moisture deficits. Only isolated parts of Tennessee saw any significant precipitation this week. Western Texas and eastern New Mexico received less than 0.5 inch the past couple of months, and most of this area recorded under an inch for the past 90 days. Farther east in central Oklahoma, higher normals allowed rainfall deficits of 2.5 to 4.5 inches accumulate over the past few weeks. As a result, moderate to severe drought expanded in many areas from central Oklahoma to the Texas/New Mexico border as far south as the Big Bend. Precipitation shortfalls are less acute and of shorter duration on the east side of the South Region, but conditions deteriorated enough to introduce D0 there…

Looking Ahead

June 18-22 should be a fairly wet week (upwards of 0.5 inch rain) from the south-central Plains northward through Iowa and Minnesota, with the east-central Great Plains and the western Red River Valley of the South expecting over two inches. Farther east, a non-tropical storm is forecast to bring moderate to heavy rain to the Middle Atlantic States. Generally, areas from northern North Carolina through southern Pennsylvania should receive 0.5 to locally 2.0 inches of rain. The northern and western Great Lakes region should anticipate moderate amounts topping out under 1.5 inches. Looking from the Rockies westward, moderate to locally heavy (high-elevation) precipitation is anticipated in central and western Montana, and moderate totals are expected in the northern Great Basin and adjacent areas. Meanwhile, subnormal temperatures are forecast from the central Rockies and Plains northward to the Canadian border, with daily highs forecast to average around 6 degrees F below normal there. In contrast, higher than normal temperatures are expected in parts of Nevada and California, as well as the Northeast. Readings should be 6 to 12 degrees F above normal in upstate New York and New England.

The CPC 6-10 day outlook (June 23-27) shows a tilt of the odds toward above-normal precipitation from the central and southern Plains eastward to the Atlantic Coast, save Florida. Areas in and around the northern Great Basin should also expect above-normal precipitation. In contrast, subnormal totals are favored in the Big Bend, the central and southern Rockies, and the northern tier of states from the Great Plains to the West Coast. Increased chances of above normal temperatures cover the Eastern Seaboard, and also the Rockies westward to the Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, odds favor subnormal temperatures from the Plains to the Appalachians.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending June 16, 2020.

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