Temperatures were cooler than average for much of the contiguous U.S. this week, including 4-8 degrees F below average across a large part of the Plains and Midwest this past week. Only Washington and Oregon saw temperatures more than 4 degrees above average for the period. With the below-average temperatures came a lot of rain in some regions, notably across northern Texas and much of Oklahoma, where rainfall was more than 600% of normal for this time of year. There were also substantial rains in parts of Wyoming, Nebraska, parts of the Dakotas, and in many places across the southeast. Rainfall was below average in southern Texas, parts of the midwest, northeast, and northwest, particularly notable in Montana where wildfires are prevalent.
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Heavy rain, in excess of 6-8 inches in some locations, fell across much of this region over the past week. The rain was particularly welcome for areas that had been experiencing dry conditions, especially northern Texas and central to western Oklahoma. So much rain fell in these regions that all dryness was completely alleviated across several broad swaths and led to 2-category, and even the rare 3-category, drought improvements in Oklahoma, from severe drought to normal conditions in Beckham and part of Roger Mills Counties in the west and parts of Kingfisher, Blaine, Canadian, and Oklahoma Counties in the central part of the state, receiving well over 5 inches in places. One resident reported that Roger Mills County is the greenest they have ever seen in August. Two-category improvements were also notable around the Texas panhandle from the previous week, including along the Texas, Oklahoma border and around Roberts and Hutchinson Counties. Conditions also returned to normal at the Texas-Louisiana-Arkansas border and in part of east-central northern Mississippi. However, northeastern Mississippi missed out on the heavy rains and abnormally dry (D0) conditions expanded slightly to the east and north.
Rainfall helped in some areas, but lack of adequate precipitation worsened conditions in others. Abnormal dryness (D0) was introduced in western and southern Portage, northern Stark, and eastern Medina Counties in northeastern Ohio, where rainfall over the past month has been less than 20% of average. In Michigan, dry conditions over the past month were evident across larger portions of the south and abnormally dry conditions expanded northward to Kalamazoo, Barry, eastern Kent, southern Montcalm, Shiawassee, Clinton, and southwestern Genesee Counties. Similarly, short-term dryness is now evident farther south in part of central to west central Indiana where adequate rainfall is lacking. In two small regions of southern Iowa (eastern Union, Clarke, most of Lucas, southern Warren and southeastern Madison Counties and to the east, central Wapello County), dryness over the past two to four months warranted degradation to extreme drought (D3). Wapello was also very dry during the last growing season. Extreme drought conditions were also expanded slightly west and north in the south. Moderate drought (D1) expanded in southwestern and far northeastern Iowa, reflecting dryness over the past four months or so. Louisa County in the southeast Iowa is a bit drier and moderate drought is now apparent in part of Wright and Franklin County in north central Iowa. However, rainfall in excess of 2 inches over the past week did help to improve conditions in the northwestern part of the state. Moderate drought now encompasses all of Marshall County in northwestern Minnesota,where low streamflows are reported and fire danger is rated high.
With the recent rainfalls, conditions returned to normal in northwestern Kansas along the Nebraska border and across extreme southern Kansas. In southwestern Nebraska, moderate drought shrank (D1) in Perkins, Chase, Hayes, and Lincoln Counties, following precipitation totals of up to nearly 4 inches. Likewise in the Nebraska panhandle, normal conditions prevail once again across eastern Box Butte, northeastern Morrill county, and northern Garden Counties, thanks to precipitation totals of 1.5-2.5 inches over the past week. Heavy rain also erased remaining dryness in Laramie County, Wyoming. Conditions improved to abnormally dry (D0) in parts of Custer, Blaine, and Loup counties in central Nebraska after two consecutive nights of heavy rainfall. Moderate drought also shrank slightly in north central Holt and south central Boyd counties, where up to 3.5 inches of rain fell. And normal conditions returned to a swath from Ewing to Atkinson in Holt County. Some areas in South Dakota received 3-7 inches of rain over the past week, contributing to improving conditions in some northeastern, north central, and south central pockets. However, the west was not as fortunate. Extreme drought (D3) creeped farther west in Meade County while severe drought (D2) expanded in Jackson. In southwestern North Dakota, rainfall helped alleviate exceptional drought (D4, the worst category), although due to the extremely poor growing conditions, it remained around the Hettinger County area. Conditions also improved in Colorado. Normal conditions returned around the Denver metro area and in Phillips County in the northeastern corner of the state.
For the week of August 16-23, rain is forecast across most of the contiguous United States, save most of the western quarter and part of eastern to southern Texas. Rainfall may be in excess of two inches or more in some areas that will significantly benefit, including much of the Plains from North Dakota south through Oklahoma, parts of the midwest where dry conditions have recently creeped in, and across much of the East Coast states. Over the next few days, temperatures are broadly forecast to be in the 70s to 80s across much of the northern tier and 80s to 90s across much of South. Temperatures in the 90s and higher are likely limited mostly to Texas, southwestern Arizona, and southern California.
Looking further ahead into the second week period, above-average temperatures are favored across most of the contiguous U.S., particularly in southern Texas, Florida, and part of the upper midwest to the mid- and North Atlantic states, while below-average conditions are favored in Alaska. Wetter-than-average are favored across much of the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous U.S., part of the west, most notably western New Mexico, ad eastern Alaska. Drier-than-average conditions are favored across most of Texas and Oklahoma, along with the northwestern tier of the Contiguous U.S. and western Alaska.
Source: Drought Monitor |