#Drought news: I-25 corridor (D1), short-term dryness putting a strain on unirrigated vegetation, some tree leaves becoming crispy

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

Summary

A series of slow-moving or stationary cold fronts plus a westward wandering upper-air low along the Gulf Coast produced widespread moderate to heavy (more than 2 inches) rains in portions of the north-central Plains and upper Midwest, much of the Corn Belt, southern Great Plains, Ohio and lower Mississippi Valley, along the Gulf Coast, and the Northeast. Record flooding occurred in Louisiana where up to 2 feet of rain inundated the southern half of the state, requiring thousands of water rescues and drowning several people. Weekly amounts exceeding 8 inches also fell on southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, north-central Indiana, and southwestern Lower Michigan. The southwest monsoon was also active, especially in New Mexico and southeastern Arizona where 1-2 inches of rain fell on several locations. Oppressive heat and humidity enveloped the northeastern quarter of the Nation, with weekly temperatures averaging more than 6 deg F above normal. Highs in the nineties were common, with some locations nearing triple-digits, but when combined with dew points in the seventies, apparent temperatures were unbearable to dangerous. In contrast, near to subnormal readings occurred across most of the western half of the U.S. and along the Gulf Coast. Most of Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii measured light to moderate rainfall, but not enough fell on the drought areas for any improvement…

Southern Plains

Abundant moisture from the southwest monsoon and the upper-air low interacted with a stationary cold front over the southern Plains, triggering numerous scattered showers and thunderstorms across southern and eastern sections of Texas and extreme southeastern Oklahoma. The rains, however, mostly missed the Texas Panhandle and the remainder of Oklahoma. With the scattered nature of the storms, totals varied widely, resulting in a spotted look to the remaining drought areas, although most changes were 1-category improvements (using 2-3 month tools). In contrast, subnormal rainfall resulted in some small degradation in the Texas Panhandle, extreme southern Texas, and in southern and northeastern Oklahoma. Field reports out of central and eastern Wagoner County (northeast OK) indicated worsening agricultural impacts due to less rainfall than surrounding counties, resulting in a D1 expansion and new D2 area…

North-Central Plains and western Corn Belt

A slow-moving cold front triggered widespread showers and thunderstorms across the north-central Plains, upper Midwest, and western Corn Belt. More than 2 inches of rain fell on most of the eastern Dakotas, central Minnesota, west-central Wisconsin, and southwestern and central Iowa, with locally up to 8 inches in parts of south-central Minnesota. This was the fourth out of the past 6 weeks with wet weather in Iowa. Accordingly, several 1-category improvements were made as the recent rains have eased or eliminated short-term dryness and drought. This included a good portion of South Dakota (D3 to D2 and D2 to D1 in the west; D1 to D0 in central sections; and D0 to nothing in northeastern and southeastern sections), northwestern Nebraska (D1 to D0 and D0 to nothing), Iowa (shrank D1 in the south, removed lots of D0), and northern Missouri (shrank D1 and D0). Most crop and pasture/range conditions were rated favorably with the exception of South Dakota. According to NASS/USDA, 25% of the SD pastures were rated poor to very poor, a reflection of drier conditions in the west…

The Northwest and northern Rockies

With July and August normally the two driest months of the year, not too many changes are typically expected during the late summer in the Pacific Northwest. This was the case this week as little or no precipitation occurred, and temperatures averaged slightly above normal. Farther east, unsettled weather (cool and showery) was observed in the northern Rockies and northern Montana, which was enough to prevent any deterioration but not enough for improvement. Except for the impact lines redrawn for better clarity of the impact types, no other changes were made…

California and western Great Basin

Since this is the normally dry and warm time of the year when no real changes are expected to occur, and since both temperature and precipitation was near normal this week, there were no changes made on the map…

The Southwest (4-Corner States)

Since the onset of the southwest monsoon in late July, scattered showers continued this week, with the greatest totals (1-3 inches) occurring in southeastern Arizona, southern and northeastern New Mexico, and southwestern Texas. With this week’s totals adding onto accumulated surpluses out to 3-, 6-, and even 12-months, some small improvements were made in southeastern Arizona (D2 to D1), southwestern Texas and southern New Mexico (D1 to D0), and D0 to nothing in southwestern and northeastern New Mexico and southwestern Texas (near El Paso). Enough rain has fallen over other areas since mid-July to keep conditions status-quo. An exception was in south-central Colorado where D0 was added as seasonal precipitation expectations have been below normal. In northern Colorado, a small area of D1 was added as short-term dryness was putting a strain on unirrigated vegetation, with some tree leaves becoming crispy. The impact lines were redrawn to reflect recent short-term wetness (SL changed to L in southern Arizona), and a SL buffer in eastern New Mexico (between the L to the west and S to the east)…

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (August 18-22), the Far West should stay seasonably dry. Meanwhile, the heaviest rains (1-4 inches) should fall on the southern Great Plains and upper Delta (TX-OK-AR), from southern Montana and northern Wyoming eastward to northern sections of Wisconsin and Michigan, on the southern Appalachians, and along the Carolinas coast. 5-day temperatures will be above-normal in the Far West and the Atlantic Coast States while subnormal readings are expected in the middle third of the Nation.

During August 23-27, the odds favor above-median precipitation in the southern three-quarters of the Plains and most of Alaska, while sub-median rainfall is favored in Arizona, Pacific Northwest, and mid-Atlantic southward to the central Gulf Coast. Subnormal temperatures are likely in the southern two-thirds of the Rockies and Plains, the Tennessee and lower Ohio Valleys, and central Appalachians, while above-normal readings are favored in southern Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and along the East Coast.

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald:

Federal officials said this week that Loveland is in the middle of a moderate drought this summer.

In the U.S. Drought Monitor operated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a narrow swath along Interstate 25 between Denver and the Wyoming border is considered to be in level D1 of drought. Last week’s report indicated the area was “abnormally dry,” and little precipitation has been reported in that time. The only other area of the state considered as dry was the Four Corners area, according to the report.

By comparison, Southern California is in a prolonged level D4 drought, the highest level on the scale.

According to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network spotters in Loveland, the city has seen less than half an inch of precipitation since the beginning of August, and only an inch of precipitation in July.

National Weather Service forecasters said Thursday that the weekend will bring only a moderate chance of showers. Friday will have the strongest chance for showers in the city, at 40 percent, with the chance of precipitation decreasing into the weekend.

The long-range forecast shows another slight chance of thunderstorms by the middle of next week, according to the agency.

Meanwhile here’s the latest US seasonal drought outlook from the Climate Prediction Center:

US Seasonal Drought Outlook August 18 through November 30, 2016 via the Climate Predication Center.
US Seasonal Drought Outlook August 18 through November 30, 2016 via the Climate Predication Center.

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