Over the week, an active pattern has helped to bring precipitation over several of the drought regions in the country and alleviate drought and dryness in several areas, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Temperatures varied across the country this week, with above-normal temperatures over the eastern third and west coast of the United States. Below-normal temperatures were recorded over much of the central to southern Plains as well as the central to northern Rocky Mountains, says this week's drought map author Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center.
The monsoon season continues in the Southwest and has been aided by tropical moisture coming up the Gulf of California. Areas in and around the Phoenix metro area recorded up to 6 inches of rain on the morning of Sept. 8, resulting in substantial flooding.
The flooding, along with significant moisture over much of the central portion of the state, did help to ease drought concerns, however, and a full category improvement was made where the greatest precipitation was observed.
In California, the central portion of the state remains in exceptional drought; 100% of the state – and a population of more than 37 million people – is still affected by some form of drought.
In the Texas panhandle, central Oklahoma, and eastern Kansas, 1.5 to 3 inches of rain was recorded this week. Farther east, the precipitation diminished, Fuchs reports.
In west Texas, several improvements were made. In Oklahoma, extreme drought was improved over the western portions of the state while moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions were improved in the state's central and northeastern portions.
The High Plains
Several days of rain and thunderstorms helped to bring some relief over the southern Plains where August was especially dry; portions of Kansas, central Nebraska, and North Dakota recorded heavy precipitation.
Improvements were made in Nebraska and Kansas as there was little support for moderate drought in the eastern portions of both states. In southeast Nebraska and eastern Kansas, moderate drought was improved, while improvements to moderate drought were also made in north central into western Kansas.
The upper Midwest also had a good week of rain where 2 to 3 inches fell over portions of northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, and central Minnesota. Improvements this week came with the removal of abnormally dry conditions over northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
A full category improvement was also granted over western Kentucky and adjacent areas into Tennessee. In northern Indiana, dryness was expanded slightly to the south. Significant storms bringing upwards of four inches of heavy rain across Missouri, Illinois and Iowa this week will be reflected in next week's report.
Crop condition remained steady in USDA's Monday report as corn was unchanged at 74% good to excellent and soy was unchanged at 72% good to excellent.
Corn development remained behind with 15% mature versus the 26% average while soy was also slightly behind with 12% dropping leaves, compared with the 17% average. Some harvest was underway, though it was not officially reported by USDA.
A change in the pattern over the southeastern United States allowed for a return of moisture into the region, with significant rains, up to 6 inches this week, over areas from northern Florida up the coast and into the Carolinas.
With this moisture, some improvements were made in the region. In North Carolina, dryness was removed in the southeast and northwest portions of the state. Georgia saw dryness removed over several northern counties as well as into the southwest.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.