Drought Slightly Improving In Southwest

Improvements noted in hardest-hit regions; short-term dryness expands into Midwest

Published on: Aug 8, 2013

Drought is improving in the Southwest, but expanding across Nevada, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released Tuesday.

Drought areas surrounding Nevada largely remained stagnant, though there was some improvement. Colorado saw consistent rains, improving pastures and keeping further drought degradation at bay. Wyoming and Arizona also saw improvements.

Meanwhile, the expanding drought in Nevada stretched into southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon, where D1 was expanded across the central portion of the state. In Utah, D2 expanded as a result of hydrologic issues.

In the plains, heavy rain, at times in excess of 5 inches, was noted in Kansas, bringing full category improvements across most of the state, especially the central and east regions. Northern Nebraska also saw full-category improvements along the South Dakota border. In western Nebraska, exceptional drought was removed and extreme drought improved.

Rain showers keep drought away in Kansas, Missouri this week.
Rain showers keep drought away in Kansas, Missouri this week.

Dryness, however, is expanding into Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Missouri, Indiana and Illinois recorded rain throughout the week, though very heavy rains, more than 7 inches in some areas, trimmed drought along a small section of Missouri, according to USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey.

Aside from Missouri's localized heavy rains, cool temperatures have eased the effects in some Midwestern areas of very small amounts of rain.

Drought Slightly Improving In Southwest

"Unfortunately, we haven't seen much rain across the Western Corn Belt," Rippey said. If you look at the U.S. soybean condition, that kind of helps to focus in where that dryness is – right across Missouri, in Iowa, and it's showing up in the other things that we monitor including topsoil moisture."

Rippey said the temperatures, at times only peaking in the mid-70s, is keeping drought and dryness from further harming crops.

In the South, severe drought expanded in Arkansas, and into the Southeast, drought conditions continue to stay away due to consistent rains in Georgia and Alabama.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are also benefiting from cooler temps and steady precipitation.

Temperatures will continue to remain below normal for most of the country in the next five days, the Drought Monitor notes, with the exception of the Southern U.S. Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee will likely continue to see a whet pattern, with more than three inches over Kansas.

In the 6-10 day forecast, temperatures will continue to be below-normal, though the best chances for above-normal precipitation will be over the Southeast.