Bloomberg News

U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Aug. 21 (Text)

August 23, 2012

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

This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw a few notable improvements
and some serious degradation.  Temperatures have generally been
below normal this week from the east side of the Rockies to the
East Coast, with the exception of Texas, the Southeast Coast,
and northern New England.  This has helped ease drought impacts,
particularly in those areas where beneficial precipitation fell.
One such area is in the Ohio Valley where parts of Indiana saw
more than five inches of rain.  This is the second straight week
of beneficial precipitation for some of these areas and this
precipitation has largely alleviated Exceptional Drought (D4)
from the state, despite lingering impacts still being felt.
Last week, drought gripped slightly less of the agricultural
land in the country with 85% of the U.S. corn crop, 83% of
soybeans, 63% of hay, and 71% of cattle areas experiencing
drought.  Nearly half of the corn (49%) and soybean (46%) areas
are experiencing Extreme (D3) to Exceptional (D4) Drought.  This
has led to both reduced yields and earlier harvests.  Additional
impacts this week include closing of an 11-mile stretch of the
Mississippi River near Greenville, MS to barge traffic because
of low water levels and wildfires expanding from northern
California to Idaho.

The Southeast: Continued beneficial precipitation in the
Southeast this week helped to improve drought conditions,
particularly in northern Alabama and the upstate of South
Carolina.  Drought continues to strongly grip Georgia, eastern
Alabama and western Tennessee and to a lesser extent areas of
North Carolina and northern Mississippi where conditions remain
relatively unchanged.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Most of this area received
enough precipitation that drought conditions held status quo
with minor reductions in Abnormal Dryness (D0) in Maine and
Rhode Island and a reduction in Severe Drought (D1) in
Massachusetts.


The South and Southern Plains:  In Oklahoma, drought intensified
to Exceptional Drought (D4) status in the northeast part of the
state, which continues to miss out on beneficial precipitation
falling to the south, just over the Texas border. Drought
conditions in parts of eastern and extreme western Texas
improved with the recent rains, while a lack of rain in the
central and panhandle parts of the state led to expansion of
Exceptional (D4), Extreme (D3), Severe (D2), and Moderate (D1)
Drought as well as Abnormal Dryness (D0).  In Louisiana, Extreme
(D3) and Severe (D2) Drought expanded in the north.

The Central and Northern Plains and Midwest: More widespread
rains in the Midwest alleviated some D1-D4 Drought as well as
Abnormal Dryness (D0) through southern Wisconsin, Illinois,
Indiana, and Ohio and into western Kentucky again this week.
Lingering drought impacts remain in many areas, leaving
devastated agriculture in its wake.  Despite a much cooler week
this week, Exceptional (D4) and Extreme (D3) Drought continue to
expand in the area from northern Missouri and into Kansas and
Nebraska where beneficial precipitation has been hard to come
by. North Dakota saw a minor change in Moderate Drought (D1) and
Abnormal Dryness (D0) in the north central part of the state.

The West: The drought in southeast California, Arizona, and New
Mexico has begun to respond to the recent monsoon rains.  Areas
of Extreme (D3) and Moderate (D2) Drought were alleviated,
largely across the southern part of the states.  A slight
expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4) took place in eastern
Colorado while in Idaho, Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal
Dryness (D0) continue to expand and contribute to wildfires.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: Drought conditions remained
unchanged in Alaska and Puerto Rico this week.  In Hawaii,
drought intensified to Extreme (D3) levels in southern Lanai.

Looking Ahead: During the August 23 - 27, 2012 time period,
there is an enhanced probability of precipitation in the
Northern Plains and in the extreme South throughout the entire
period, as well as in the Southwest and the south Atlantic Coast
early in the period, and around the Great Lakes later in the
period.  Below normal precipitation is expected in the
Northwest, New England, and into the Ohio Valley.  The northern
tier of the country is expected to see above normal
temperatures.

For the ensuing 5 days (August 28 - September 1, 2012), the odds
favor normal to above normal temperatures everywhere in the U.S.
with the exception of the Pacific Coast.  Normal to below-normal
precipitation is expected from the West Coast, through the
Southern and Central Plains and into the Ohio Valley and South.
Above-normal precipitation is expected from the Northern Plains,
through the Great Lakes, and all along the East Coast.  In
Alaska, temperatures are expected to be normal to above-normal
over the entire state and precipitation is expected to be below
normal in the south and above normal in the north.

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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