Thursday, June 30, 2016
Current U.S. Drought Monitor

NOTE: To view regional drought conditions, click on map above. State maps can be accessed from regional maps.

The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is each Tuesday at 8 a.m. EDT. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For local details and impacts, please contact your State Climatologist or Regional Climate Center.

Current National Drought Summary

Summary

Please note the Drought Monitor depicts conditions valid through Tuesday morning, 8 a.m., EDT (12 UTC); any of the recent locally heavy rain which fell after Tuesday morning (June 28) will be incorporated into next week’s drought assessment. For the 7-day period ending June 28, despite pockets of locally heavy rain (which led to catastrophic flooding in parts of West Virginia), above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall caused dryness and drought to expand or intensify across portions of the central and eastern U.S. Nationally, the percent of soil moisture rated poor to very poor climbed 5 points over last week to 31 percent (as of June 26, according to USDA-NASS), which was 14 percentage points higher than last year at the same time.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

While heat was not an issue, conditions deteriorated as dry weather prevailed. In particular, Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) increased in New York and New Jersey as well as portions of southern New England. May of the region’s D1 areas have reported less than 50 percent of normal rainfall over the past 90 days, and streamflows remained historically low (5th percentile or lower) from northern New Jersey into central and northern Maine. Concurrently, topsoil moisture was rated 66, 75, and 81 percent short to very short (as of June 26, according to USDA-NASS) in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, respectively.

Southeast and Tennessee Valley

Heavy rainfall in northern portions of the region contrasted with unfavorably dry conditions farther south. From southern Kentucky and western Tennessee into northern Alabama, heavy rain (1-4 inches, locally more) resulted in a 1- to 2-category reduction in drought intensity. Farther south, Abnormal Dryness (D0), Moderate Drought (D1), and Severe Drought (D2) were expanded to further reflect increasing — albeit highly variable — precipitation deficits over the past 90 days. Likewise, pockets of Extreme Drought (D3) were introduced into the driest areas of northeastern Alabama and northern Georgia, where 90-day rainfall has totaled locally less than 45 percent of normal and soil moisture was likewise depleted; according to USDA-NASS, topsoil moisture was rated 55 and 54 percent poor to very poor in Georgia and Alabama, respectively, increases of 13 and 8 percentage points over the previous week.

Delta

Deteriorating conditions were noted over the southern Delta, where this week’s warmth and dryness were most pronounced. While the remainder of the region was unchanged from last week, Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) expanded westward over south-central Mississippi and east-central Louisiana. In these locales, rainfall over the past 60 days has totaled 30 to 65 percent of normal, and streamflows and soil moisture continued to diminish rapidly. To highlight the latter, the percent of soil moisture short to very short as of June 26 (according the USDA-NASS) increased to 58 percent in Mississippi and jumped 12 percentage points over last week in Louisiana to 23 percent.

Midwest and lower Ohio Valley

Highly variable rainfall was noted over the region’s Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) areas. Relatively narrow swaths of moderate to heavy rain (1-4 inches, locally more) resulted in reductions of D0 and D1 coverage, most notably from Ohio into east-central Iowa. Conversely, D0 was increased over central and southern Michigan, where 60-day rainfall has totaled 50 to 70 percent of normal. Topsoil moisture in Michigan was rated 60 percent short to very short as of June 26 by USDA-NASS, a 13-point jump from last week and 57 percentage points higher than a year ago. While state-wide net gains were noted in soil moisture (percent short to very short decline week to week) from Missouri into Ohio, D1 was increased in southeastern Iowa and northeastern Missouri to reflect 60-day rainfall near or below half of normal. In the western-most Corn Belt, D1 was introduced in south-central Nebraska where 60-day rainfall was likewise less than 50 percent of normal.

Northern Plains

Heat and dryness caused drought conditions to intensify locally. While showers were noted over northern-most portions of the region for a second consecutive week, drought intensified and expanded farther south. Areas hardest hit by the heat and dryness extend from northeastern Wyoming into western South Dakota. Severe Drought (D2) was expanded to encapsulate areas that have received less than 60 percent of normal (locally less than 50 percent) rainfall over the past 90 days. Furthermore, satellite-derived vegetation health imagery as well as rainfall data indicated conditions have rapidly worsened to Extreme Drought (D3) in a small area immediately adjacent to the Black Hills. Farther east, Abnormal Dryness (D0) also expanded across southern portions of South Dakota where 60-day rainfall was near or below 60 percent of normal. Likewise, D0 was expanded over northern Wyoming where similar short-term deficits were noted.

Central and Southern Plains

While much of the region remained mostly drought free, excessive heat (100°F or greater) coupled with pronounced short-term dryness necessitated the introduction of Moderate Drought (D1) in central Oklahoma. Over the past 60 days, this new D1 area has reported 30 to 55 percent of normal rainfall (locally less); rapid drought intensification in this area is likely if rain does not materialize soon.

Texas

Texas remained free of drought following a much-wetter-than-normal May. However, recent 100-degree heat and short-term dryness have raised concerns over the potential for a return to “flash” drought (rapidly occurring drought caused by a combination of dryness, high heat, and strong winds).

Western U.S.

Due to the onset of the West’s “dry season”, changes to the region’s drought depiction during the summer months are usually minor, if any. However, Abnormal Dryness (D0) was expanded across northern Idaho to reflect declining soil moisture supplies brought on by a lack of rainfall over the past 60 days. Protracted short-term dryness — despite generally cooler-than-normal weather — has also been noted along the northern Pacific Coast. These more northerly coastal ranges typically receive some precipitation during the latter half of spring and early summer, and 60-day rainfall has tallied 30 to 50 percent of normal (deficits of 2 to 6 inches) from northwestern California to the Puget Sound.

Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

There were no changes made to the drought classification in Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico.

Looking Ahead

High pressure will maintain sunny skies across most of the eastern and southern U.S. into the weekend, with cooler-than-normal weather from the Corn Belt into the Northeast contrasting with lingering warmth over the Gulf Coast States. Showers will persist, however, in the western Corn Belt and central Plains, where rain could be locally heavy. During the upcoming holiday weekend, an area of low pressure will develop over the central High Plains and track eastward, producing a swath of increasingly heavy rain from the central Plains to the southern Corn Belt, reaching the southern Mid-Atlantic Region by early next week. Five-day rainfall totals are expected to top 5 inches in parts of Kansas, northern Oklahoma, and western Missouri. Farther west, monsoon showers will continue over the Four Corners and Southwest, with lighter showers spreading as far north as the central and northern Rockies. Hot, seasonably dry weather is expected over the Pacific Coast States. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 5 – 9 calls for above-normal temperatures across most of the nation, except for cooler conditions in the Northwest, with the greatest likelihood of abnormal warm extending from the Corn Belt to the Gulf Coast. Above-normal rainfall is expected from the Upper Midwest to the southern Mid-Atlantic Coast, while drier-than-normal conditions are anticipated in New England and from the Interior Northwest southeastward to the western and southern Gulf Coast.


Author(s):
Eric Luebehusen, U.S. Department of Agriculture

View a printable narrative here.

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