Drought Expands in Areas Outside of Midwest

U.S. Drought monitor records precipitation from severe storms over the weekend, while California and the Southwest remain rain-free

Published on: Nov 21, 2013

A strong cold front barreled across the central and eastern United States this U.S. Drought Monitor week, sparking deadly severe weather and locally heavy rain in the Midwest, says Richard Heim of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Two inches or more of rain fell across parts of northeast Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and Lower Michigan, causing contraction of some drought areas, with heavy rain also in the Ohio Valley. However, the Southwest and California remained generally precipitation-free.

From southern Illinois and western Kentucky to northern Ohio, severe weather and significant rain were noted. As a result, D0-D1-D2 were pulled back in east central to northeast Iowa, D0 was pulled back in central Illinois and trimmed in southeast Illinois, and D1 was trimmed in northwest Illinois, Heim reported.

Severe storms dished out bumpy weather and significant precipitation to much of the Midwest this week. (file photo)
Severe storms dished out bumpy weather and significant precipitation to much of the Midwest this week. (file photo)

The frontal system also dropped half an inch of moisture across parts of the northern Plains this week, but the southern parts were dry. D0 expanded across central to eastern Kansas and agricultural impacts are beginning to develop, Heim wrote. Stock ponds are losing ground and winter wheat is beginning to be negatively affected.

In Oklahoma, D1 expanded in the northwest and D2-D4 expanded in the southwest to reflect continued dryness and low soil moisture. D1-D4 also expanded in northwest and north central Texas. Improvement was made in the Texas panhandle, however, where D2-D3 were trimmed and in central to east Texas where D0 was pulled back, Heim said.

The Southwest has been especially dry since the summer monsoon ended. D3 expanded into the San Joaquin Valley to reflect these impacts. In New Mexico, D0-D1 expanded in the south to reflect recent dryness, and D3 expanded in the northeast to reflect persistent dryness from the year to date. In Arizona, D0 and D1 expanded to reflect recent dryness.

In contrast, several inches of precipitation were noted in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies of northern Idaho, while other parts of the Rockies saw an inch or less; otherwise, the rest of the West and Great Plains were mostly drier than normal.

On the other side of the country, rainfall amounts dropped off significantly across the Appalachians, with only a few tenths of an inch common from the central to coastal parts of Georgia through the New England states. This continued a dry trend for much of the Deep South and East Coast which started 3 to 4 months ago and prompted expansion of D0, Heim said.

Drought Expands in Areas Outside of Midwest

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor