DROUGHT MONITOR



The week was drier than normal across northern portions of New England, and wetter than normal in the southern parts of the Northeast. D0 was trimmed from western Suffolk County on Long Island where 90-day precipitation was above normal, but otherwise no changes were made to the drought depiction in the Northeast. D0-D1 continued in the northern portions. In Maine, dry conditions were affecting wells as groundwater levels continued their slow decline over the summer. According to August 12 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, 31% of the pasture and rangeland in New Hampshire was in poor to very poor condition, and 43% of the topsoil and 45% of the subsoil was short or very short of moisture; 88% of the topsoil and 87% of the subsoil in Vermont was short or very short of moisture. As summarized by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), water restrictions or water shortages were reported in communities in New York and Massachusetts.

Since the Tuesday morning cutoff time of this week’s USDM, heavy rain has fallen across some of the drought areas in Missouri, with additional rain over Kansas; rain was moving across Nebraska and South Dakota in the Plains and into the Ohio Valley and across parts of the Northeast; and monsoon precipitation had overspread parts of the Southwest. For August 16-20, dry weather will continue across the Far West and much of Texas; monsoon showers will bring a few tenths of an inch to locally over an inch of rain to the Southwest; and fronts and low pressure systems will bring over an inch of rain to a large area stretching from the central and northern Plains, across the Midwest, to most of the Southeast and Northeast, with up to half an inch to an inch across the Rockies to High Plains. Less than an inch of rain is expected for parts of the Great Lakes, Florida, and the Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures are expected to be warmer than normal across the West and cooler than normal in the Great Plains, with near-normal temperatures east of the Mississippi River. For August 21-29, odds favor below-normal precipitation across the Pacific Northwest to northern Plains, and above-normal precipitation for the Southwest to Southeast, Ohio Valley to Great Lakes, Northeast, and most of Alaska. There is a higher probability for warmer-than-normal temperatures in the West, along the Gulf of Mexico coast, along the East Coast, and in much of Alaska, while cooler-than-normal temperatures are favored to dominate the Plains to Midwest.

Above-normal precipitation fell across parts of Ohio, Kentucky, southeast Michigan, and southern Illinois, and rain from the cutoff upper low over the southern Plains began to spread into southwestern Missouri right at the Tuesday morning data cutoff time. But most of the Midwest was dry this week. D0-D1 were trimmed in northwest Ohio and adjacent southeast Michigan. But drought and abnormal dryness expanded or were introduced in all of the states except Ohio. D1 was introduced or expanded in northern Illinois, southern Iowa, northern Minnesota, southwest Michigan, and western Wisconsin. Missouri is the epicenter of drought in the Midwest. Parts of the state have had very hot and dry weather in recent weeks and months, and some parts have been dry for the last year or longer. As a result, D0-D4 were expanded across much of the state. Drought impacts in Missouri, as noted by the NDMC, include weekly cattle sales at the St. Joseph Stockyards have been about 600 head recently, in comparison with typical sales for this time of year of 50 to 60 cattle weekly; low water levels and poor hay production were driving the sales. Forages were dormant in central Missouri, leaving producers to feed hay or find other food sources. According to August 12 USDA reports, 45% of the corn crop, 37% of the soybean crop, and 76% of the pasture and rangeland in Missouri were in poor to very poor condition, and 79% of the topsoil and 80% of the subsoil was short or very short of moisture; 32% of the pasture and rangeland in Michigan was in poor to very poor condition, and 54% of the topsoil and 58% of the subsoil was short or very short of moisture; 22% of the pasture and rangeland in Illinois was in poor to very poor condition, and 40% of the topsoil and 41% of the subsoil was short or very short of moisture; 28% of the pasture and rangeland in Iowa was in poor to very poor condition, and 36% of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture. Reports received by the Iowa State Climate Office include depleted ponds, dry creek beds, and brown pastures in south central counties.