According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, the continued lack of rain in many portions of the U.S. has facilitated drought and dryness conditions stretching into the eastern Corn Belt.
Dry conditions have expanded into severe drought in portions of North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Moderate drought still exists in the northern half of Illinois, with abnormally dry conditions stretching into Indiana.
Other short-term patches of dryness have appeared in northern Michigan and central Pennsylvania this week.
Last week's above-normal temperatures exacerbated ongoing lack of rainfall. The U.S. Geological Survey said stream flows in the Midwest have dropped into the below average (10-24) percentiles, with some gauges in southern Iowa below the tenth percentile.
In the lower Mississippi Valley, little to no rain fell, adding to growing rainfall deficits. With 50-75% of normal rainfall the past three months, precipitation shortages have reached 4 to 8 inches, and locally to 12 inches, the Drought Monitor reports.
As a result, the D0-D2 areas crept eastward, with D2 reaching into central Mississippi where less than 50% has fallen since June 5.
Drought continues also in Plains, West Coast and Southwestern states. Most of the Dakotas reported light to moderate rainfall, with just enough to keep conditions relatively the same over last week. No changes were made in Nebraska and Kansas, except for a small one-category improvement in extreme sections of southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, southwest Iowa, and northwest Missouri, the Drought Monitor said.
Oklahoma and Texas have run out of surplus moisture saved back from wet conditions in early August. Conditions in Texas were a mixed bag as drought designations stayed relatively unchanged in many parts of the state.
In the Southwest, summer monsoon rains are benefiting the driest areas. Numerous locations in southern Nevada and Arizona measured over 2 inches of rain, while 1 to 2 inches were common in central Nevada, western and central New Mexico, central Utah, and most of Arizona, the Drought Monitor said. Drought impacts in much of the area have been reclassified from short-term drought to long-term drought to reflect improved short-term drought conditions from monsoon rains.
Moderate to heavy rains fell on the Pacific Northwest Coast, eliminating D0 in western Washington. Conditions are improving also in southeastern Idaho, central Colorado, and southeastern Wyoming due to moderate monsoonal rains.
For the remainder of the week, rainfall is forecast to be along the borders of the contiguous U.S., namely in the Northwest, the Great Lakes region into New England, along the Gulf Coast. For the five days after, odds for above normal precipitation are greatest in the Southwest, Great Lakes region, and Appalachians.
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