DROUGHT MONITOR



Soaking precipitation occurred from central portions of the Rockies and Plains into the upper Midwest, mainly from May 16-18, and in parts of the Southeast starting on May 20. Drought-affected areas of the Southeast, including portions of Alabama and Georgia, experienced substantial relief, with rain still falling when the drought-monitoring period ended on May 23. The drought-easing effects of any rain that fell after 8 am EDT on Tuesday, May 23, will be reflected on next week’s map. Farther west, late-season snow (locally 1 to 3 feet) blanketed the northern and central Rockies, while streaks of heavy rain largely arrested drought development in the south-central U.S. Areas that remained stubbornly dry included parts of the north-central U.S. and Florida’s peninsula, although significant rainfall developed in the latter region after the monitoring period ended on May 23.

A storm system in the vicinity of the central Appalachians on Thursday will drift northeastward, reaching coastal New England by May 26. Meanwhile, a low-pressure system will cross southern Canada, with a disturbance along the storm’s trailing cold front affecting the nation’s mid-section during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. On Friday, soaking rains will end across the Northeast, while showers and thunderstorms will develop from the northern Intermountain West into the lower Midwest. Rain will quickly spread eastward and return to parts of the southern and eastern U.S. during the weekend. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather during the next 5 days will be limited to just a few areas, including California and the Southwest.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 30 – June 3 calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures from the central and southern Plains to the western slopes of the Appalachians, while warmer-than-normal weather should prevail along the Atlantic Seaboard and across the northern High Plains and much of the West. Odds will be tilted toward near- to above-normal rainfall across most of the country, but drier-than-normal conditions can be expected from the Pacific Northwest into the upper Midwest.

The Midwest remained drought free, although a new area of abnormal dryness (D0) was introduced in northern Minnesota. Through May 23, month-to-date rainfall in International Falls, Minnesota, totaled just 0.78 inch (39% of normal). Most other areas of the Midwest have endured an extended period of cool, cloudy, rainy weather, leading to agricultural fieldwork delays and leaving topsoil moisture rated one-third to one-half surplus on May 21, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Indiana (46% surplus), Wisconsin (44%), Illinois (35%), and Iowa (35%).