U.S. Drought Monitor
Map released: Thurs. September 16, 2021
Data valid: September 14, 2021 at 8 a.m. EDT

Intensity

  • None
  • D0 (Abnormally Dry)
  • D1 (Moderate Drought)
  • D2 (Severe Drought)
  • D3 (Extreme Drought)
  • D4 (Exceptional Drought)
  • No Data

Authors

United States and Puerto Rico Author(s):

Pacific Islands and Virgin Islands Author(s):

The Drought Monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may vary. See accompanying text summary for forecast statements.

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Statistics

Estimated Population in Drought Areas:

Pacific Drought Summary

For the third consecutive week, Alaska reported neither dryness nor drought, as the transition from summer to autumn has been accompanied by widespread precipitation.

In Hawaii, there was little overall change in the depiction, with more than one-third of the island chain experiencing drought for the twelfth consecutive week. However, some of Hawaii’s hardest-hit drought areas—mainly in Maui County—are seeing signs of worsening conditions, including declining vegetation health. Extreme drought (D3) was introduced across the southern part of Molokai, while Lanai noted widespread worsening from moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) and from severe to extreme drought (D2 to D3).

No abnormal dryness or drought is affecting Palau. Koror reported 13.36 inches of rain for the month of August 2021. This was the third consecutive month of subnormal rainfall, though August was jbarely shy of normal. Last week, Koror recorded almost 5 inches of rain, bringing their mid-September total to 6.35 inches, which is somewhat above normal. Palau Airport – after a dry start to the month – recorded 7.65 inches of rain last week. As this is a relatively wet time or year, even somewhat below-normal rainfall is sufficient to keep drought impacts at bay.

The Mariana Islands also remain free of notable dryness despite generally subnormal rainfall the last 2 to 4 months. The first half of September brought only 2.5 to 3.0 inches of rain to Guam and Saipan, which is about half of normal. This trend only dates back about 6 weeks at Saipan, where surplus rain fell for several months before the drier spell. Guam has observed less abundant rain relative to normal, but throughout the Islands, this is a wet time of year, and even a few months of subnormal rain is sufficient to squelch any impactful dryness.

Dry conditions have intensified at Kapingamarangi in the Federated States of Micronesia, and moderate drought (D1) has been introduced there. Last week, 1.65 inches of rain fell – only slightly below normal – but it brought amounts since the beginning of August to just over 6 inches, whereas normal is over 15 inches. Private water tanks on Kapingamarangi have dropped to 10 percent of capacity, giving them a cushion of only a couple of months beyond typical demand. Should acute dryness continue, water supplies will dwindle further, potentially bringing about serious deficiencies. Fortunately, the rest of the Federated States of Micronesia are free from any impactful dryness. August was drier than normal across most islands, and subnormal rains date back to early summer in a few spots, but this being the wetter time of year, sufficient rain has fallen to preclude any concerns. In addition, following 1 to 3 months being drier than normal, September has doused Yap, Chuuk, and Woleai with 8 to 15 inches of rain, which is approximately 2 to 3 times normal at the latter 2 locations. Dry conditions have intensified at Kapingamarangi in the Federated States of Micronesia, and moderate drought (D1) has been introduced there. Last week, 1.65 inches of rain fell – only slightly below normal – but it brought amounts since the beginning of August to just over 6 inches, whereas normal is over 15 inches. Private water tanks on Kapingamarangi have dropped to 10 percent of capacity, giving them a cushion of only a couple of months beyond typical demand. Should acute dryness continue, water supplies will dwindle further, potentially bringing about serious deficiencies. Fortunately, the rest of the Federated States of Micronesia are free from any impactful dryness. August was drier than normal across most islands, and subnormal rains date back to early summer in a few spots, but this being the wetter time of year, sufficient rain has fallen to preclude any concerns. In addition, following 1 to 3 months being drier than normal, September has doused Yap, Chuuk, and Woleai with 8 to 15 inches of rain, which is approximately 2 to 3 times normal at the latter 2 locations.

Some degree of abnormal dryness has persisted in western parts of the Marshall Islands for several months. Kwajalein was substantially drier than normal during June – August, leading to abnormal dryness (D0) there, while at Ailinglapalap, severely deficient rainfall during May – August (about 15 inches with a normal over 43 inches) led to deepening drought that had reached severe drought (D2) status recently. Fortunately, these areas finally started receiving significant rainfall this month, particularly within the last week. All 3 locations are above normal for September, prompting an improvement to D1 (moderate drought) on Ailinglapalap. Farther south and east, no significant impacts were reported despite a drier than normal July – August. Deficient precipitation was not as deep nor as long-lived as it was farther north and west. Wotje has been particularly dry this month, (0.88 inch which is under one-quarter the normal), but they were the only location reporting surplus rainfall for July – August (over 125 percent of normal), precluding any abnormal dryness (D0+) despite a 2-week lack of substantial rainfall.

Between 0.5 and 1.5 inches fell across American Samoa during the first 2 weeks of September, when normals are closer to 4 inches. But this follows abundant June – August rainfall. Pago Pago reported about 25 inches of rain then, or 7 inches more than normal. As a result, no degree of abnormal dryness (D0+) is appropriate at this time.

Full Summary

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