Drought improvement for Northern Plains and Upper Midwest

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drought change mapAbove-normal temperatures persisted for the Northern Plains and Midwest the week ending Oct. 12. But a strong surface low pressure system brought heavy rain to the Dakotas and northern Minnesota, resulting in broad one-category improvements in drought, according to today’s National Drought Monitor. After the storm system had passed, a surface low-pressure system developed in the Rockies and over the Southern Plains, bringing several inches of rain and further improving drought conditions that had intensified quickly during September. The low-pressure system brought heavy rain to the western Corn Belt later in the reporting period, resulting in further drought improvement. Areas that missed out on the Great Plains saw drought conditions worsen amid the unseasonable warm temperatures and high winds.

Today’s National Drought Monitor shows 39.6% of the Midwest is impacted by abnormal dryness or drought, which was a three-point improvement from the week prior. Minnesota and Iowa remain the hardest-hit.

On the High Plains, drought improvement in the Dakotas was basically offset by drought worsening in areas farther to the south and especially in eastern areas of Colorado. Today’s monitor shows 84.5% of the High Plains is impacted by abnormal dryness or drought, basically steady with the week prior. The top winter wheat producing state of Kansas is in relatively good shape, with just 14.6% drought coverage.

Drought also expanded notably in Texas over the past week, with elevated temperatures and high winds speeding along evaporation. Today’s update shows 53.3% of the Lone Star state is impacted by abnormal dryness or drought, an 8.3-point jump from the week prior.

Oklahoma saw several inches of rain that helped improve conditions across central areas. But drought worsened in areas that missed out. Drought/dryness coverage climbed roughly 3 percentage points to 95.6%, but the amount classified as drought eased 7.2 percentage points.

drought monitor


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