Drought: Withered west parched while others states get much needed rain


HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) For the third straight week, Extreme (D3)/Exceptional (D4) Drought in the United States has set a drought record. With 22.4% of the nation in D3/D4 compared to 22.1% last week. The high prior to the 2020/2021 drought was Aug 7, 2012, at 20.2%.


This week’s precipitation outlook from the National Weather Service (NWS) shows Minnesota and Iowa, being the two midwestern states facing the most severe drought, getting a good dose of rain. Same for much of the Northern Plains, outside precipitation for Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, and a few other spots, but the West looks bone dry.


On the other hand the latest seasonal assessment shows widespread severe (D2) to exceptional (D4) drought continues across much of the West, Northern Great Plains, and Upper Mississippi Valley. Drought intensified for parts of California, the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, and Northern Great Plains since mid-July, due to above-normal temperatures and lack of sufficient rainfall. Drought is expected to persist for nearly all of the western and north-central U.S. through the end of November, but an increasingly wet climatology later in the fall season favors improvement for the coastal Pacific Northwest.


Drought is forecast to expand across the Central Great Plains, based on short-term precipitation deficits, low soil moisture, and favored above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation at most forecast time scales. A robust North American Monsoon resulted in drought relief across the Southwest this summer and additional small improvements could occur during the remainder of August and into September. However, broad-scale persistence is the most likely outcome since long-term drought impacts are likely to continue beyond November and a drying climatology begins later in the outlook period.

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