Drought Monitor: Drought Spreads Across Nebraska, South Dakota & Missouri

By: Julianne Johnston

July  31,  2014

For the contiguous 48 states, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 47.5% of the area covered by drought, up from 46.19% last week. But some dramatic changes were noted across Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri. Most notable was Nebraska, where 42% of the state is now covered by drought, up from 28% last week; 39% of Missouri is now covered by drought, a ten-percentage-point increase from last week. South Dakota now has 29% covered by drought, up from 10% last week.

drought.png The monitor notes, "Patchy July dryness across the northern Plains and Midwest stood in stark contrast to near-record to record-setting June wetness. In one of the more dramatic examples, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received rainfall totaling 0.80 inch (28% of normal) from July 1-29, following its wettest June and month on record (13.70 inches, or 349%). Due to antecedent wetness and persistently cool conditions, impacts from July dryness have been slow to emerge. However, pockets of abnormal dryness (D0) have begun to develop in a few areas of the western and southwestern Corn Belt. In addition to Sioux Falls, July 1-29 rainfall totaled less than an inch in locations such as Lincoln, Nebraska (0.51 inch); Mobridge, South Dakota (0.53 inch); Aberdeen, South Dakota (0.70 inch); Chesterfield, Missouri (0.70 inch); Valley, Nebraska (0.88 inch); Mason City, Iowa (0.90 inch); and Cahokia, Illinois (0.99 inch)."

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In its short-term outlook into August 4, the monitor states locally heavy showers will shift eastward across the South, eventually reaching the southern Atlantic States. "Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches from Florida into the southern mid-Atlantic region. Meanwhile, showers will linger across the central and southern Rockies in the wake of a significant rainfall event. Most of the remainder of the West will experience dry weather, except for isolated showers across the Great Basin and Intermountain region. Mostly dry weather will also prevail during the next several days from the northern Plains into the middle Mississippi Valley. Elsewhere, an ongoing heat wave in the Northwest will contrast with near- to below-normal temperatures in most other parts of the country."

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 5 through 9 calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures in large sections of the central and eastern U.S., as well as the central Rockies, while hotter-than-normal conditions will cover the lower Southeast, the lower Rio Grande Valley, and the Far West. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal rainfall across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with the likelihood of drier-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest, northern Plains, far upper Midwest, and southern parts of Arizona, Texas and Florida.