Drought Monitor

The flash drought in the southern portions of the United States, especially over the Southeast and Texas, remains the prominent feature this week. As conditions continue to dry out coinciding with record warmth, deteriorations are widespread and rapidly occurring. Temperatures were varied over the United States this week, and much of the West, upper Midwest, and central and northern Plains were cooler than normal, with temperatures 3 to 6 below normal widespread. It was even cooler over Great Basin with temperatures 6 to 9 degrees below normal. In contrast, temperatures over the Southeast were generally 9 to 12 degrees above normal coming off a month when many locations set records for the warmest September on record. Temperatures were generally 6 to 9 degrees above normal in Texas and into the Midwest as well. Two prominent rain events came through the country in the last week. The first occurred at the beginning of the period when much of eastern New Mexico, west Texas and the Texas panhandle received rain and thunderstorms. A significant rain event moved through the southern Midwest and into the South, not only putting a stop to further drought development but also allowing for widespread improvements. Unfortunately, these rains did not get into the Southeast, where another hot and dry week continues to raise havoc on the region, especially to those involved in agriculture.

Over the next 5-7 days, precipitation chances look to be greatest over the Plains and Midwest and into the Mississippi Valley. The greatest chances of precipitation are in North Dakota and through Missouri into Oklahoma. Conditions are expected to remain dry over much of the West, Southwest, and Mid-Atlantic into the Southeast. Cooler than normal temperatures are projected over most of the country with the greatest departures expected over the High Plains, where departures could be over 20 degrees below normal. Warmer than normal temperatures are expected over the Southeast and New England with departures of up to 3 degrees above normal.

The 6-10 day outlooks show above-normal chances for cooler than normal temperatures over the High Plains and into the Midwest while the best chance for above-normal temperatures is along the southern portions of the country from the Southwest into the southern Plains and into the Southeast. The best chances for recording above-normal precipitation are over the eastern portions of the country, especially the Southeast, as well as over the Pacific Northwest and into the Great Basin. The best chance for below-normal precipitation is over the central Plains.

Temperatures were cooler than normal over the upper Midwest with departures of 3 to 6 degrees below normal while the southern and eastern portions of the region had above-normal temperatures with departures of 6 to 9 degrees above normal. Ohio had their warmest September ever while Kentucky and Missouri had their second warmest ever. Kentucky also had their driest September ever while Illinois had their 25th wettest September ever. Significant rain came through the region and allowed for several improvements, but the areas that missed these rains in southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and Ohio continued to dry out, especially with the warmer than normal temperatures. Abnormally dry conditions were eliminated in northern Illinois and into northern Indiana. Moderate drought was improved over the “thumb” of Michigan while some of the newly introduced (last week) abnormally dry conditions in southern Missouri were improved this week. A full category improvement was made to drought conditions over much of Kentucky and the southern edges of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.