Bloomberg News

U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending May 29 (Text)

June 01, 2012

Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:


The discussion in the Looking Ahead section is simply a
description of what the official national guidance from the
National Weather Service (NWS) National Centers for
Environmental Prediction is depicting for current areas of
dryness and drought. The NWS forecast products utilized include
the HPC 5-day QPF and 5-day Mean Temperature progs, the 6-10 Day
Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, and the
8-14 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability,
valid as of late Wednesday afternoon of the USDM release week.
The NWS forecast web page used for this section is:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/forecasts/.

Weather Summary:  Highly beneficial rain fell across the
northern Plains and the upper Midwest, while hot, mostly dry
weather depleted topsoil moisture and caused crop conditions to
further decline in many areas from the central and southern
Plains into the eastern Corn Belt.  Short-term dryness also
continued to expand into the central Gulf Coast States, despite
heavy rainfall earlier in the spring.  Meanwhile, Tropical Storm
Beryl formed on May 25 about 300 miles east of Charleston, South
Carolina, and moved southwestward.  Beryl made landfall just
after midnight on Memorial Day, May 28, near Jacksonville Beach,
Florida, then passed near Valdosta, Georgia, before turning
toward the north and northeast.  Before accelerating away from
the coastal Carolinas on May 30, Beryl provided much-needed rain
to drought-affected areas from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic
coastal plain.  Elsewhere, mostly dry weather prevailed in the
West, except across the northern tier of the region.

The East:  Rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Beryl brought
significant drought relief to northern Florida and southeastern
Georgia.  A few storm totals in excess of 10 inches were noted
in northern Florida’s former exceptional drought (D4) area,
which improved to extreme drought (D3).  In the Carolinas, much
of Beryl’s rain fell on May 29-30 and will be reflected in next
week’s Drought Monitor.  Meanwhile, Beryl’s rains did not push
far enough inland to benefit a core region of extreme to extreme
to exceptional drought (D3 to D4) in Georgia and Alabama.
Farther north, pockets of heavy showers in the Mid-Atlantic
States led to further reductions in the coverage of abnormal
dryness (D0).

The Mid-South:  Topsoil moisture continued to rapidly decline
under a hot, mostly dry weather regime, resulting in further
development and expansion of abnormal dryness and moderate
drought (D0 and D1).  Abnormal dryness (D0) also expanded
southward, to the central Gulf Coast.  By May 27, topsoil
moisture was mostly very short to short in Arkansas (82%) and
Missouri (77%).  Moisture was very short to short in more than
half of the topsoil in Louisiana (56%), Mississippi (55%), and
Tennessee (51%).  During the week ending May 27, the portion of
pastures rated in very poor to poor condition jumped at least 10
percentage points in Arkansas (from 23 to 39%) and Missouri
(from 18 to 28%).  Record-breaking heat affected portions of the
region during the Memorial Day weekend, when Vichy-Rolla,
Missouri (98°F on May 26), posted a monthly record high
(previously, 95°F on May 15, 1899).

The Midwest:  Heavy rain soaked the upper Midwest, easing or
eradicating dryness (D0) and drought (D1).  Some of the heaviest
rain drenched Minnesota, where 2- to 4-inch totals were common.
On May 26, Rochester, Minnesota, noted a calendar-day
precipitation total in excess of an inch for the first time
since July 15, 2011--and the end of its longest spell (315 days)
without a one-inch total since September 22, 1994 - March 23,
1996 (549 days).  In sharp contrast, dryness (D0) and moderate
drought (D1) continued to develop and expand across the central
and eastern Corn Belt.  By May 27, the portion of the corn crop
rated in very poor to poor condition rose to 13% in Kentucky and
10% in Missouri.  During the week ending May 27, the percentage
of topsoil moisture rated very short to short rose at least 25
points in Ohio (from 16 to 50%), Illinois (33 to 63%), and
Indiana (43 to 71%).  In addition, holiday weekend heat gripped
much of the Midwest, where Rockford, Illinois (99°F), notched a
daily-record high for May 27.  Drought continued to affect parts
of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where the 20,000-acre Duck Lake
fire charred several dozen structures near Pine Stump Junction.

The Plains:  Like the Midwest, parts of the central and southern
Plains experienced worsening conditions due to heat, wind, and
short-term dryness.  On May 22 in Nebraska, Chadron (99°F),
Alliance (98°F), and Sidney (98°F) set all-time May records.
Elsewhere in Nebraska, Scottsbluff (100°F on May 22) experienced
its earliest triple-digit heat on record, previously established
with a high of 100°F on May 28, 1934.  In Kansas, daily-record
highs for May 23 soared to 100°F in Dodge City and 98°F in
Russell.  Later, Hastings, Nebraska (100°F on May 26), recorded
its earliest triple-digit reading, previously established with a
high of 105°F on May 29, 1934.  By May 27, topsoil moisture in
Kansas was rated 74% very short to short, along with 62% in
Texas, 60% in Oklahoma, and 52% in Nebraska.  Harvest of Kansas
winter wheat began (4% cut by May 27), with 25% of the crop
rated in very poor to poor condition.  In contrast, locally
heavy shower provided some relief from dryness (D0) and moderate
drought (D1) on the northern Plains.

The West:  Under dry, breezy conditions, there were minor
changes for the worse in the Southwest.  Rangeland and pastures
continued to deteriorate in many Western States.  Topping the
list was New Mexico, with 87% of its pastures and rangeland
rated very poor to poor on May 27.  Behind New Mexico were
Arizona (67% very poor to poor), Nevada (51%), California (40%),
Colorado (37%), and Wyoming (35%).  New Mexico also had to
contend with the nation’s largest wildfire of the year to date.
By late May, the Whitewater-Baldy fire, east of Glenwood, New
Mexico, had charred more than 150,000 acres of vegetation--with
0% containment.  Meanwhile, a series of storms dropped
maintained generally favorable conditions across the northern
tier of the West.  Some of the precipitation (rain and snow)
fell in previously dry (D0) areas of the northern Intermountain
region, resulting in slight improvement of the drought depiction
in parts of Wyoming and Montana.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico:  Currently, there is neither
dryness nor drought depicted in Alaska and Puerto.  Meanwhile,
windy but otherwise mostly uneventful weather covered Hawaii,
resulting in minimal change in the drought depiction.  Although
Hawaiian showers were generally light and confined to windward
locations, strong trade winds buffeted the islands.  On Maui,
Kahului clocked wind gusts above 40 mph on eight consecutive
days from May 22-29.

Looking Ahead:  During the next 5 days (May 31 - June 4), a
developing storm currently over the south-central U.S. will
drift northeastward to a position north of the Great Lakes
during the weekend.  Storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 3
inches, with locally higher amounts, from the central and
southern Plains into the Northeast.  Meanwhile, building heat
across the West will shift into the nation’s mid-section by
early next week.  The Midwest, South, and East will experience a
significant break from the heat that peaked during the Memorial
Day weekend.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for June 5-9 calls for above-normal
temperatures and below-normal rainfall across the majority of
the U.S.  Cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the
middle and northern Atlantic States and areas along the Pacific
Coast, while wetter-than-normal weather will be limited to the
Mid-Atlantic coast and across the nation’s northern tier from
the Pacific Northwest to the Red River Valley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Rose in Washington at srose31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marco Babic at mbabic@bloomberg.net


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