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Drought Update: Big Improvement For Some Since 2012

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Summer continues across the nation with temperatures well into the 80s and 90s for the central part of the country. We are getting indications that after a brief cool down through the end of the week, there will be an even bigger surge of warmer weather into next week across some of the same areas! Some of this summer weather is coming in the form of monsoonal thunderstorms in the Southwest. Take a look at the picture below out of Albuquerque, NM, where heavy rainfall led to standing water/flash flooding.

Here are  a couple more shots of a thunderstorms in the Southwest, this time in California.

Dry August in Phoenix, AZ

So far, through the first 21 days of August, Phoenix has only seen 0.01″ rainfall! Monsoonal moisture earlier this summer helped to bring the yearly precipitation deficit to only 0.59″.

Precipitation From Normal

The Southwest continues to see pockets of heavy rainfall, but we still need a good soaking rain across a wide area across the entire western half of the country. Take a look at the yearly precipitation from normal maps below. Note northern California and western Oregon!

Western Drought

The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought conditions worsening from a year ago.

Central Plains August Rainfall

You may recall the deadly flooding we were tracking earlier this month across the central part of the country. Take a look at how much rain we’ve seen so far this month there.

These are also areas that were bombarded with significant snowfall earlier this year, so there are several locations that are dealing with above normal precipitation for the year.

Midwest Precipitation Surplus

Nice to see precipitation surpluses showing up still in the Midwest as last year we were so dry!

Midwest Drought Improvement

It is a night and day difference for some this year compared to last in the drought category. Take a look at how much the drought has improved just within the last year.

Short-Term Drought

Unfortunately, the shorter term rainfall has been a little light. Lawns and gardens across the region are a bit parched. It’s interesting that within the last 1 month, we’ve actually seen conditions worsen!

Midwest August Rainfall

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that with a lack of precipitation lately, things are getting dry. The image below suggests the percentage of precipitation that has fallen so far this August. Interestingly, there are some spots that have only seen nearly 5% of their normal August precipitation.

Mostly Dry August

The first 21 days of August have been quite dry and it appears that it may stay that way for some as a big bubble of hot air sets up across the middle part of the country into early next week. The image below shows how much we are above or below normal rainfall this month. Note that most locations are dealing with a deficit.

U.S. Precipitation From Normal

It’s a tale of two cities here. Note how much different the nation looks from one side to the other. The western half of the country is well below average, while the eastern part of the nation looks to be well above normal for the year.

U.S. Drought Update

The U.S. Drought Monitor released it’s latest update today and this is what they had to say:

“This US Drought Monitor week was dominated by a persistent weather system that dumped precipitation in the South and Southeast over multiple days. Radar estimates go as high as 10+ inches in one location in eastern Louisiana. The High and Southern Plains also benefitted from precipitation, from southern South Dakota down into Texas while areas of the West and Midwest remained dry.

The East: The eastern U.S. remains drought free again this week.

The South and Southern Plains: Beneficial rains fell again this week across portions of northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas, leading to improvements in drought conditions in western and central Kansas, western and central Oklahoma, the Panhandle of Texas, south-central Arkansas, and eastern Louisiana. Conversely, Extreme (D3), Severe (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1) expanded in Texas and northern Louisiana and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded in Louisiana and southern Arkansas.

The Central and Northern Plains: Beneficial rainfall continues to improve drought conditions in western and southern South Dakota, where Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) have abated, and in northern Nebraska where Extreme Drought (D3) was reduced. Conversely, eastern parts of Iowa and South Dakota have seen less precipitation than normal and Abnormal Dryness (D0) has expanded there.

The Midwest: Lack of recent precipitation is beginning to be felt throughout the region. Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded across eastern Illinois and into western Indiana, in northern Michigan, and across most of Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin. Likewise, Moderate Drought (D1) expanded in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Cooler temperatures have helped abate the lack of moisture lately but that could be changing as above-normal temperatures are expected in the area over the next two weeks.”

Read more HERE:

U.S. Drought Outlook

According to NOAA’s CPC, the U.S. Drought Outlook looks promising, still, for folks in the central part of the country as we continue to (potentially) chip away at the drought there. Unfortunately, folks in the west may still have to endure dry weather conditions, which is not good for the continued wildfire threat.

Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your week!

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