High Plains Drought Summary
Generally little or no precipitation fell across the western High Plains while light rains (0.5-1 inch) fell on parts of North Dakota, southeastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, most of Kansas, and central Colorado. Scattered locations in extreme southeastern SD, northeastern NE, and eastern KS received more (1.5-3 inches, locally to 7 inches in southeastern KS), but most of this rain fell on non-drought areas. An exception to this was north-central and southeastern Kansas where a 1-cat improvement was made, but unfortunately missed most of the core D2-D4 area in northeastern Kansas (again). Kansas pastures and ranges have also improved, with a NASS/USDA Aug. 12 value of 35% poor or very poor versus a Sep. 9 value of 20%. Subnormal weekly temperatures (anomalies of -2 to -6 degF) in the central Plains also eased evaporative demands. In contrast, drier and warmer weather in the Dakotas have steadily lowered moisture and growing conditions. Under half of normal 30- and 60-day precipitation has fallen on parts of North and South Dakota, and field reports are indicating declining farming, ranching (no forages to graze), and hydrologic (shallow wells and small ponds drying up) conditions. The NASS/USDA poor and very poor pasture conditions for ND and SD have slowly climbed from 7 and 10%, respectively, on July 29, to both at 25% on Sep. 9. Accordingly, D0-D2 was expanded into the driest areas, and a D3 was added in McHenry County, ND, where the field reports and drought tools lined up.
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