Bloomberg News

U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending July 10 (Text)

July 12, 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: Rainfall was more abundant than last week. A
broken pattern of moderate to locally heavy rains (isolated
totals up to 5 inches) covered the central and southern Plains,
the northernmost Plains and Great Lakes region, the immediate
Ohio Valley, and a good chunk of the Southeast and interior mid-
Atlantic. However, the heavier amounts were fairly isolated, and
with the hot weather that covered much of the central and
eastern United States, only a few scattered areas of dryness and
drought experienced significant improvement. In addition, the
areas with the greatest temperature anomalies (average daily
maxima 10 to 13 degrees above normal) generally coincided with
an area of scant rainfall across the Midwest, northwestern Ohio
Valley, and southern Great Plains, resulting in another week of
widespread deterioration and expansion of dryness and drought in
these regions.

In the hottest areas last week, which were generally dry, crop
conditions deteriorated quickly. In the 18 primary corn-growing
states, 30 percent of the crop is now in poor or very poor
condition, up from 22 percent the previous week. In addition,
fully half of the nation’s pastures and ranges are in poor or
very poor condition, up from 28 percent in mid-June. The hot,
dry conditions have also allowed for a dramatic increase in
wildfire activity since mid-June. During the past 3 weeks, the
year-to-date acreage burned by wildfires increased from 1.1
million to 3.1 million as of this writing.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Light to locally moderate rain
fell on much of the region, but the hot weather negated much of
the potential benefit from this rainfall, and in drier areas,
dryness and moderate drought expanded. Abnormally dry conditions
expanded through much of upstate New York, western Pennsylvania,
and the central Appalachians, with D1 conditions stretching into
westernmost New York, southwestern Pennsylvania, and the central
mid-Atlantic. Over the last 90 days, only about half of normal
rainfall has been recorded in portions of south-central
Virginia, the interior mid-Atlantic, western Pennsylvania, and
upstate New York.

The Tennessee Valley, Southeast, Deep South, Ohio Valley, and
Great Lakes Region: Brutal heat finally eased late in the
period, but daily highs still averaged above 95 degrees in the
lower Ohio, Tennessee, and much of the middle Mississippi
Valleys and the southern half of the Plains. The most anomalous
conditions covered the lower Ohio Valley, southern Great Lakes,
and middle Mississippi Valley, where daily highs averaged 10 to
13 degrees above normal. Additionally, these areas received
scant rainfall if any. Light to moderate rain, with a few
pockets of 2 to 5 inch totals, prevailed elsewhere. Heavy
rainfall was widespread enough to bring significant drought
improvement to some areas near the Tennessee/Kentucky border,
but D0 to D3 conditions expanded broadly for the second
successive week in many locations, and a few areas of D4 were
introduced along the lower Ohio River. The worst conditions (D3
to D4) were assessed along and near the lower Ohio River and in
northeastern Indiana, where rainfall was 7 to 11 inches below
normal for the last 3 months.

The Mississippi Valley Westward through the Rockies: Beneficial
rains - 2 to 6 inches at a number of locations - brought at
least temporary improvement to the southern halves of the High
Plains and Rockies and across Louisiana and eastern Texas.
Significant drought improvement was assessed in a good portion
of New Mexico (D2 to D1) and along the Texas and western
Louisiana Gulf Coasts (dryness eliminated or improved to D0).
Farther north and east, Conditions deteriorated significantly in
most of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, where broad expansions
of D1 to D4 were assessed. An area of D4 was introduced in
central Arkansas. In the last 6 months, precipitation deficits
of 7 to locally over 17 inches have accumulated in the lower
Ohio Valley, most of Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma. Farther
north, as in many other areas, hot and generally dry weather led
to the expansion of D0 to D2 conditions, with an area of D3
introduced in the southwestern Great Lakes Region and eastern
Iowa. Outside of the D3 area, precipitation shortfalls date back
only 30 to 60 days in northern portions of the Plains and
Mississippi Valley, but this dryness, combined with much hotter
than normal weather, led to quick expansion and deterioration in
these areas.

The Intermountain West and West Coast: These areas were
generally dry, so Drought Monitor classifications reflected
deterioration in a few areas; specifically, western Montana,
southern Idaho and adjacent Oregon, western and southern
Wyoming, and parts of Utah. Furthermore, long-term dryness
reached D3 levels in southern Arizona.

Hawaii and Alaska: Between 1 and 3 inches of rain fell on east-
central Alaska 2 weeks ago, and scattered amounts of 0.5 to 3.0
inches were noted again this week along the southern and eastern
portions of the D0 area. Abnormal dryness was eliminated in
these areas. A few inches of rain fell on many windward areas
across Hawaii, but little or none was observed elsewhere. As a
result, some improvement was noted on the Big Island, where D0
to D2 conditions retreated westward a little. In contrast,
dryness has induced an increase in reported agricultural impacts
across western Oahu, where D1 was introduced.

Looking Ahead: Moderate to heavy rain could be on tap for at
least part of the areas covered by dryness and drought during
July 11-16, 2012. More than an inch is forecast across a large
swath from southern and eastern Texas eastward across the Gulf
Coast and Florida, and northeastward through the lower
Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Valleys, the central and
southern Appalachians, and much of the south Atlantic states
north of central Georgia. Three to five inches are possible in
southeastern Texas and adjacent Louisiana, across the upper
Southeast, in the lower Ohio Valley, and the Tennessee Valley as
far east as the Appalachian foothills. Moderate rain (0.5 to 1.0
inch) is forecast for the mid-Atlantic, lower Northeast, part of
the northern Plains, and a few spots in the central and southern
Rockies. Light rain should prevail in other dry areas, except in
the southwestern Great Lakes region, the middle Mississippi
Valley, and the central and south-central Plains, where little
or none is anticipated. Temperatures should continue their
moderating trend, with somewhat above-normal readings confined
to the Northeast, the northern Rockies and Intermountain West,
and the northern half of the High Plains.

For the ensuing 5 days (July 17-21, 2012), the odds favor above
normal rain from the upper Mississippi Valley southeastward to
the South Carolina Coast and eastward through lower New England.
Southeastern Texas and the southeastern Rockies also have
enhanced chances for above normal rainfall. In contrast, the
northern Rockies are expected to measure sub-normal rainfall
totals, as are areas from western Utah and Arizona westward
through California.

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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