Additional drought improvement occurred over the past week on the Plains, as well as in Missouri and Michigan, according to the National Drought Monitor for the week ending Oct. 9.
The Monitor details that “a strong upper-level trough and frontal system brought heavy rain to western Texas and much of Oklahoma. Areas just east of the Texas Panhandle recorded the most rainfall (5 to 10 inches prevailed), but most locations saw recorded over two inches.” This “substantially” alleviated drought and dryness across the region.
Just 30.6% of Texas is now impacted by some form of dryness or drought, a 7.8-point improvement from last week and a 44.6-point drop from three months ago. And the bulk of this figure falls in the least extreme “abnormal dryness” category.
The situation is even better in Oklahoma where just 11.9% of the state is covered by abnormal dryness or drought, an 11.6-point improvement from last week and a 61.9-point drop from three months ago.
Today’s monitor notes that “The same strong system that soaked parts of Texas and Oklahoma dropped excessive rains on areas of entrenched D2 to D4 drought in northwest Missouri and southern Iowa, and extending into northeastern Kansas.”
Nearly the entire area received four inches of rain, with some parts of east-central Kansas and northwest Missouri receiving 7 to 12 inches. The heavy rainfall led to dramatic drought improvement for these two areas, but the Midwest rains slowed harvest, raised crop quality concerns and spurred some talk about the need for winter wheat replants.
In the top wheat-producing state of Kansas, just 11.5% of the state is dealing with some form of dryness or drought, roughly half of what was recorded the week prior and a 54.8-point improvement from July.
But Colorado remains an area of concern, as 83.4% of the No. 2 winter wheat producing state is still dealing with some form of dryness/drought, with nearly half of that classified as extreme or exceptional drought.