Drought Contracts in Western Corn Belt; Expands in Illinois

Posted on 08/24/2017 9:14 AM

Drought's foot print declined in the western Corn Belt for the week ending Aug. 22, according to the National Drought Monitor. The decline came due to weekend and early-week rain in western areas. However, drought expanded in Illinois rising to 40.8% of the state covered by abnormally dry (D0) to moderate (D1) drought. That is an increase of around 22 points from last week.

Change in drought coverage

The monitor notes, "Precipitation was above normal across much of the nation’s midsection and below normal in portions of the Deep South, Southeast, Ohio Valley and much of the West. The heaviest rainfall was in southern Minnesota, western Iowa, eastern Nebraska, western Missouri, eastern Kansas and northwest Arkansas. Drought and dryness persisted in the northern Plains and expanded westward significantly in Montana."

For the Midwest, the monitor states, "Heavy rains fell during the week throughout much of the western part of the region. Precipitation amounts ranging from 8 to 12 inches were recorded in western Missouri, western Iowa, and southwest Minnesota. High totals were also measured in northern Missouri stretching east into central Indiana. The precipitation put a large dent in the long term dryness in Iowa where drought was greatly reduced across much of the state. In Illinois, D0 was expanded and D1 was introduced across the central part of the state."

Drought monitor August 22

In the High Plains, the monitor says, "Precipitation was above normal for much of the Dakotas and Nebraska during the week. Rainfall totals exceeded 5 inches in eastern Nebraska and the eastern Dakotas received 3 to 5 inches. The precipitation helped ease some of the drought conditions that have persisted in the region for several months. Despite the recent rains, significant long-term dryness still existed so drought conditions continued for much of the region. In North Dakota, it was reported that some ranchers are resorting to drilling new wells as the previously established wells have dried up. In South Dakota, reported impacts include: dry dams or unusable water, lack of well water, failed hay crops, and wildfire danger. In Nebraska, it was reported that crops are beginning to stress due to the lack of rain."

Looking at the next 7 days, Tropical System Harvey is forecasted to make landfall in southeast Texas Friday morning bringing with it several days of heavy rainfall in eastern Texas, Louisiana, and the lower Mississippi Valley Friday through early next week. Precipitation totals may approach 1 foot in some locations. Elsewhere, precipitation totals may total 1 to 2 inches in the northern High Plains stretching southwestward into the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico. Another tropical disturbance is forecasted to bring precipitation to southern Florida and depending on its development and track, along the Southeastern coastline. An active weather is expected in the Southwest as weak disturbances move over New Mexico. Temperatures will remain below normal for much of the eastern half of the country while the western half will be above normal. The coolest anomalies will be in the South and Southeast, the monitor states.


Looking ahead 8-14 days, the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook calls for the greatest probability of above normal temperatures in the Northwest while the South and Southeast have the best odds of being cooler than normal. Odds are in favor of precipitation falling in the Southwest and East while the Midwest and Northwest remain dry, the monitor says.

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