Heavy rain eases drought in the western Corn Belt

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Drought change mapThis week’s National Drought Monitor reflected widespread improvement across areas of the Midwest and eastern parts of the Central and Northern Plains in response to beneficial rainfall. “Rainfall accumulation in these areas ranged from 2 to 12+ inches leading to one-category improvements across areas of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin,” the National Drought Summary for the week ending Aug. 31 detailed, adding that the heaviest accumulations were observed in northeast Iowa. In other areas of the Midwest, modest rainfall led to the reduction of abnormal dryness in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Temperatures averaged well above normal across the region.

The heavy precipitation led to widespread improvement for areas dealing with exceptional (D4), extreme (D3), severe (D2) and moderate drought (D1) in eastern areas of the High Plains. But western areas of the Dakotas continued to deal with major rainfall and soil moisture deficits.

Farther to the South, Hurricane Ida made landfall along the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing 2 to 15 inches of rain, with the highest accumulations observed along coastal areas of southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi. But drought conditions worsened in north-central areas of the South as well as in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Today’s update details, “short-term dryness (past 30-day period) and reports of poor crop conditions led to the introduction of an area of moderate drought (D1).” Abnormal dryness also spread in the Texas Panhandle, but conditions improved in the Big Bend region.

drought monitor


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