Friday, June 24, 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 any rain which fell after Tuesday morning, 8 a.m. EDT, will be incorporated into next week’s drought assessment. For the 7-day period ending June 21, hot weather intensified or expanded from southern California and the Southwest across the Plains and interior Southeast. Cooler-than-normal conditions for the week were confined mostly to the Northwest. Rain was intermittent, albeit locally heavy, from the Upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern States. Despite the locally heavy showers and thunderstorms, the overall trend toward drought persistence or expansion prevailed across many areas east of the Rockies.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Dry conditions prevailed over much of the region, though well-placed showers (1-2 inches) in southwestern Pennsylvanian and environs led to the removal of Moderate Drought (D1) and a reduction of Abnormal Dryness (D0) across the central Appalachians. In contrast, D0 and D1 were increased from New York into New England due to declining streamflows (locally below the 10th percentile) and a lack of rain over the past 90 days (less than half of normal). In fact, many of the Northeast’s D1 areas are now running rainfall deficits in excess of 6 inches over the past 6 months.

Southeast and Tennessee

Despite locally heavy showers, most of the region’s existing Moderate (D1) to Severe (D2) Drought areas reported little — if any — rainfall during the period. The crux of the heaviest rain (2-6 inches) fell over southern and west-central Alabama, affording some localized drought relief in these areas. Across interior portions of the Southeast, soil moisture continued to decline rapidly; according to USDA-NASS, topsoil moisture was rated 46, 42, and 35 percent poor to very poor in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, respectively. To further illustrate the dryness, 90-day rainfall over the newly-expanded D2 area from northern Georgia into western North Carolina has totaled a meager 60 percent of normal or less, and in some areas below 40 percent. Farther north in Tennessee, dryness continued to intensify in eastern portions of the state, where 30-day rainfall has measured 40 percent of normal or less.

Delta

Deteriorating conditions were noted over the eastern Delta, while northern and western portions of the region remained drought free. Showers were hit and miss during the period, with rainfall in excess of 2 inches in northern Louisiana and on the central Gulf Coast contrasting with totals less than half an inch in Arkansas and central Mississippi. Dryness has been on the increase in the latter region; the newly-expended Moderate Drought (D1) areas of central Mississippi have reported 25 to 50 percent-of-normal rainfall over the past 60 days. Likewise, percent of soil moisture short to very short as of June 19 (according the USDA-NASS) increased to 42 percent in Mississippi and jumped 18 percentage points over last week in Arkansas (to 41 percent short to very short). Rain will be needed soon in the Delta to prevent a rapid expansion of Abnormal Dryness and Moderate Drought.

Midwest and lower Ohio Valley

Warm, mostly dry conditions prevailed in the region’s Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) areas. Despite impressive weekly rainfall totals (1-4 inches, locally more) during the period, much of the rain fell outside areas most in need of moisture. Nevertheless, locally well-placed rainfall led to a reduction in D0 or D1, particularly in central Indiana and from northern Illinois into Wisconsin and Minnesota. In contrast, a lack of rain in southern Iowa and northeastern Missouri over the past 60 days (40-60 percent of normal) led to the introduction of D1. Topsoil moisture continued to decline, particularly in southern and eastern portions of the region, and was rated 54 percent short to very short as of June 19 in Missouri by USDA-NASS; 47 percent in Michigan; and 30 percent or more in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

Northern Plains

Hot, dry conditions caused drought conditions to intensify locally. While showers and below-normal temperatures were noted over northern-most portions of the region, excessive heat (100-108°F) and a lack of rain caused rapid — albeit localized — drought intensification farther south. Areas hardest hit by the heat and dryness extend from northeastern Wyoming into western South Dakota, with some Abnormal Dryness (D0) extending into North Dakota. Severe Drought (D2) 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 data as well as reports from the field indicated conditions are deteriorating quickly for crops and pastures, and this region will need rain soon to prevent these areas from slipping into Extreme Drought (D3).

Central and Southern Plains

Although the region is mostly drought free, excessive heat (100°F or greater) coupled with pronounced short-term dryness necessitated the introduction of Abnormal Dryness (D0) in central and eastern Oklahoma as well as southeastern Kansas. Over the past 60 days, these D0 areas have reported 40 to 60 percent of normal rainfall, and a rapid descent into drought is imminent if rain does not materialize soon. Another pocket of D0 was introduced in south-central Nebraska, while Moderate Drought (D1) in northwestern Nebraska coincided with excessive heat and pronounced short-term dryness.

Texas

Texas remained free of drought following a much-wetter-than-normal May. Recent heat and short-term dryness have raised concerns over the potential for a return to short-term drought, though reservoirs and moisture supplies remained overall favorable for the time being.

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, protracted short-term dryness — despite generally cooler-than-normal weather — has been noted along the northern Pacific Coast. These more northerly coastal ranges typically receive some precipitation during the latter half of spring, and 60-day rainfall has tallied 35 to 60 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 Puerto Rico or Hawaii. In Alaska, Abnormal Dryness (D0) was expanded across the state’s northern tier to reflect the impacts of a lack of snowpack due to early-season melt off as well as drier-than-normal conditions (50-70 percent of normal) over the past 90 days.

Looking Ahead

A pair of disturbances will continue to track east along a stalled frontal boundary, producing a swath of moderate to heavy rain (1 to 3 inches, locally more) from the lower Great Lakes into the Mid-Atlantic States. Somewhat spottier showers will develop south of the front from the middle Mississippi Valley into the Carolinas, though some of this rain could be locally heavy as well. Farther west, a pair of upper-air disturbances will trigger scattered showers and thunderstorms, the first over the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley, while the second moves into the Northwest. In contrast, hot, mostly dry weather will prevail across Texas, Oklahoma, and much of the West. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for June 28 – July 2 calls for above-normal temperatures in the Northeast, Gulf Coast, and from the Plains to the Pacific Coast States. Conversely, cooler-than-normal weather is anticipated across the Corn Belt and Tennessee Valley. Above-normal rainfall is expected across much of the southern and eastern U.S., including the Four Corners, while drier-than-normal conditions prevail from the Northwest into the Great Lakes Region.


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

View a printable narrative here.

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