Drought Monitor Reveals More Midwest Rains Needed

Posted on 03/09/2017 10:22 AM

The National Drought Monitor reflects a marginal reduction of drought across the Midwest from last week, with nearly 27% of the region covered by some form of drought. But it also reflects a 1.4-percentage-point increase in "moderate" drought from last week to 3.4% of the area, centered over southeast Iowa. The monitor depicts conditions through Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., CT, and does not include rains that are falling this morning across some of the driest areas of Iowa.


The monitor notes that highly variable rainfall was noted over the Midwest's (D0) and (D1) areas last week. "Relatively narrow swaths of moderate to heavy rain (1-4 inches, locally more) resulted in reductions of D0 and D1 coverage, most notably from Ohio into east-central Iowa. Conversely, D0 was increased over central and southern Michigan, where 60-day rainfall has totaled 50% to 70% of normal," it states.


"While statewide net gains were noted in soil moisture (percent short to very short decline week to week) from Missouri into Ohio, D1 was increased in southeastern Iowa and northeastern Missouri to reflect 60-day rainfall near or below half of normal," adds the monitor. "In the westernmost Corn Belt, D1 was introduced in south-central Nebraska where 60-day rainfall was likewise less than 50% of normal."

Looking ahead, the monitor states that high pressure will maintain sunny skies across most of the eastern and southern U.S. into the weekend, with cooler-than-normal weather from the Corn Belt into the Northeast contrasting with lingering warmth over the Gulf Coast States. "Showers will persist, however, in the western Corn Belt and Central Plains, where rain could be locally heavy. During the upcoming holiday weekend, an area of low pressure will develop over the central High Plains and track eastward, producing a swath of increasingly heavy rain from the central Plains to the southern Corn Belt, reaching the southern Mid-Atlantic Region by early next week," it states.

Five-day rainfall totals are expected to top 5 inches in parts of Kansas, northern Oklahoma and western Missouri, states the monitor's forecast. "Farther west, monsoon showers will continue over the Four Corners and Southwest, with lighter showers spreading as far north as the central and northern Rockies. Hot, seasonably dry weather is expected over the Pacific Coast States."





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