Bloomberg News

U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending July 3 (Text)

July 06, 2012

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


Weather Summary:  Overall, this week featured the expansion and
intensification of dryness in large sections of the country,
with only southern Texas reporting some improvement. Light
precipitation (0.5 inch or less) fell on most areas of dryness
and drought, with only scattered areas reporting more than an
inch, primarily in the northern Plains, lower Mississippi
Valley, southernmost Great Lakes region, Appalachians, mid-
Atlantic region, and southern Texas. This despite a couple of
thunderstorm complexes that pushed rapidly from northern
Illinois east-southeastward through the mid-Atlantic, including
one on June 29 that caused significant damage, knocked out power
for millions of customers, and took 2 dozen lives.
Unfortunately, where rain did fall (outside southern Texas), it
was not enough to make up for blistering heat that covered the
Nation’s midsection, reaching the central and southern Atlantic
Coast by the end of the workweek. Both the number of record
highs in the past week, and the areas with record and near-
record dryness over the last 1 to 3 months, are too numerous to
mention. Daily high temperatures averaged above 100 degrees in
the central and upper southern Plains, extending eastward into
parts of Missouri and Arkansas, and average temperatures for the
week were 8 to locally 15 degrees above normal from the Ohio
Valley and upper Southeast westward through most of the High
Plains. The dryness is beginning to take a significant toll on
some of the Nation’s crops, pastures, and rangelands. In the
primary growing states for corn and soybeans (18 each), 22
percent of the crop is in poor or very poor condition, as are 43
percent of the Nation’s pastures and rangelands and 24 percent
of the sorghum crop. In addition, the area scorched by wildfires
expanded significantly. Over 1.9 million acres have been
engulfed since the start of the year, and increase of 38 percent
in just the past week.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Despite a couple of thunderstorm
complexes that brought light to locally moderate rain to parts
of the region, the late-period hot weather across the mid-
Atlantic and a return to dry weather over the last couple of
weeks allowed D0 conditions to expand through much of this
region, with a few patches of moderate drought showing up.
Farther north, there was some limited expansion of D0 and, in
western Pennsylvania, D1 conditions.

The Tennessee Valley, Southeast, Deep South, and lower Ohio
Valley:  Brutal heat and only light to locally moderate rain
engendered a broad expansion and intensification of dryness and
drought. Most of this region recorded less than half of normal
precipitation during the last 30 days, with under 25 percent of
normal falling on the lower Ohio Valley, much of Kentucky and
northern Tennessee. Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee
each have 45 to 50 percent of their corn crop in poor or very
poor condition as well as 34 to 49 percent of soybeans.

The Mississippi Valley Westward to the Pacific Coast:  Another
hot and dry week led to rapid deterioration and expansion of
dryness and drought from the Rockies eastward. The only
exception was southern Texas, where many locations recorded 1 to
3 inches of rain, leading to areas of improvement in the
widespread D1 to D3 conditions. Farther north, D0 to D3
conditions expanded, with exceptional dryness (D4) developing in
parts of north-central and east-central Colorado. In New Mexico,
59 percent of the Sorghum crop is in poor or very poor
condition, and much of the region’s rangeland is in similarly
bad shape, including 74 percent of rangeland in Arizona, 77
percent in Colorado, and 89 percent in New Mexico. In addition,
the now-infamous Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado, though partially
contained, has been called the most destructive wildfire in the
state’s history by local officials. Farther north, the Nation’s
largest wildfire rages in Montana’s Custer National Forest,
having consumed approximately 186,000 acres as of this writing.
Dryness and heat were less exceptional from the Intermountain
West westward to the Pacific Coast. No changes in dryness or
drought were introduced there.

Hawaii and Alaska: Between 1 and 3 inches of rain fell on east-
central Alaska while little or none fell on the state’s northern
tier. This engendered some slight improvement in southeastern
sections of the D0 region, but it seems insufficient to have
completely eliminated that region’s dryness. In the dry areas
across Hawaii, many locations reported 1 to locally over 3
inches of rain in southwestern sections of the Big Island, east-
central Maui, and some of central and southeastern Oahu. Other
D0 to D3 areas reported only light precipitation, if any. The
continuing dryness in the southeastern half of Kauai, where
cattle ranchers are reporting that drought stress has started,
was degraded to moderate drought (D1), and the rest of the state
was unchanged.

Looking Ahead: In general, July 4 - 8, 2012 doesn’t look
promising in terms of relief, though the intense heat should
subside somewhat. One area that could see relief would be from
the central and southern Rockies into the northern Plains, much
of which is forecast to receive over an inch of rain. Totals
near or above 2 inches are expected in the central Dakotas. One
to perhaps 3 inches are also anticipated along and near the
central Gulf Coast. Elsewhere, light  rain at best is expected,
with little or none forecast for the lower Northeast, the mid-
Atlantic region, the upper Southeast, the Ohio Valley, much of
the Mississippi Valley, and the central and southern Plains.
Seasonably dry weather is expected in the West. Modest
improvement is forecast for most areas that have endured the
recent heat wave, but most locations from the Plains eastward
are still expected to be warmer than normal. Temperatures could
average over 6 degrees above normal from the mid-Atlantic region
westward through the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys to near the
Mississippi River.

The ensuing 5 days (July 9 - 13, 2012) bring enhanced chances
for below-normal rainfall from the Tennessee and middle
Mississippi Valleys northward through the Appalachians, Great
Lakes, and northern Great Plains. In contrast, the odds favor
above-normal rainfall along and near the southern half of the
Atlantic Coast and in the southern halves of the High Plains and
Rockies. Below-normal temperatures are expected to settle into
the Northeast, but continued above-normal temperatures are
anticipated in the southern halves of the Mississippi Valley and
eastern Plains, and from the northern Plains, the central
Rockies, and the desert Southwest westward to near the Pacific
Coast.

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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