Bloomberg News

U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending June 18 (Text)

June 20, 2013

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

The Northeast: Cooler temperatures prevailed and spotty
beneficial rains continued to fall last week across the region,
except for portions of Pennsylvania. On the heels of improvement
in the region last week, some minor changes are noted this week
with the removal of D0 in northeastern New York State and some
minor western expansion of D0 in northeastern Pennsylvania into
south central New York (although this same region saw some
trimming of D0 on the eastern flank).

Mid-Atlantic: Good rains bring reduction of D0 in West Virginia
this week along the southern and eastern fronts as soil moisture
and streamflows continue to rebound as a result of above-normal
rainfall the past 30-90 days. Cooler temperatures also prevailed
across West Virginia, although most of Virginia and the
Carolinas were relatively dry. Temperatures were mostly cooler
than normal to seasonal for the entire region, helping offset
demand so far as we head into summer.

The Southeast: Above-normal temperatures pervaded southern
Alabama, southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle last week.
Coupled with the recent dryness, seasonal departures over the
past 90 days (50-75% of normal) leads to some slight expansion
of D0 across extreme southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and
extreme southwest Georgia. These same regions have been
generally seeing a nice recovery this year from a long multi-
year drought, so the recent dryness shows that recovery isn’t
complete and all aspects of the hydrological cycle haven’t been
fully recharged, leaving the area more vulnerable to a relapse
should tropical rains avoid the region.

Midwest: The improvement trend continues this week in both
Minnesota and northwestern Iowa where recent rains have led to a
general 1-category improvement in both states, including the
removal of D2 from south central Minnesota.

The Plains: All but western Texas saw well above normal
temperatures last week after a cooler start to the growing
season (when compared to the very hot start that plagued the
region in 2012). In fact, readings farther north were 5-8
degrees above normal across western Kansas and parts of both the
Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, with more heat and dry conditions
expected to be coming to the region over the next couple of
weeks. Rains were scattered and very good for some while not so
good for others across the southern Plains. Oklahoma, in
particular, continues to see a slow retreat of drought in those
counties located along the eastern edge of drought in central
and northern portions of the state, including some slight
improvement from D4 to D3 across a small portion of the central
Panhandle. However, a very tight gradient remains between
eastern (no drought) and western (D0-D4) Oklahoma counties as
summer appears on their doorstep.

As for changes in Texas, there were many this week, both for the
better and worse. In general, counties in central, south central
and southeastern Texas saw degradation after the drying trend of
the past several weeks and a ramping up of above-normal
temperatures for the better part of the past month. An
advancement of D0-D3 is seen toward the southeastern coast as a
result. Heavy rains brought 1- to 2-category improvements,
drastically reducing D3/D4 along the Big Bend region and points
south along the Rio Grande corridor. Western Texas and the
Panhandle also got a taste of good rains, leading to some
scattered improvement and 1-category improvements there, and the
same pattern brought changes for the better across central/north
central Texas up into the Red River corridor with Oklahoma.

Farther north, the continuation of cooler and wetter conditions
brings some improvement to the D0-D2 areas along the Missouri
River corridor between northeast Nebraska and southeastern South
Dakota. Good rains also came to a good portion of western and
central Kansas last week, bringing a reduction of D2 drought
there. The rains, however, weren’t significant enough to bring
improvement to the long-lived D3/D4 core that is embedded in the
western half of Kansas.

The West: Changes are noted for many areas on this week’s map,
starting with Colorado and Wyoming, where D0 has been degraded
to D1 across north central Colorado and extreme southeastern
Wyoming. Other changes in Colorado include an advance of D2 and
D3 in the eastern half of the state, coupled with an expansion
of D2 and D3 in south central and southwestern counties that
extends into southeastern Utah.

After an underwhelming winter overall, temperatures have really
increased across the Four Corners region, escalating fire and
range condition concerns as we move into summer. This region is
quickly becoming home to the new epicenter of the 2013 drought.
D3 has also pushed into more of northwest New Mexico, putting
virtually all of the state in extreme (D3) or exceptional (D4)
drought, the two worst drought severity classifications. Little
change is expected in this severity level across the state until
we see what benefits the monsoon season may bring them later
this month or early in July. These same concerns are being felt
farther west as well with D2 expanding in southwestern Idaho.
Eastern Nevada sees an introduction of a much larger area of
D2/D3 this week as summer heat and dryness settle in and
strengthen their influence on the drought in the Intermountain
West after a disappointing winter.

A push of D0 is depicted this week across more of western and
northern Oregon and into western Washington State as well. Year-
to-date dryness and low streamflows are indicative of conditions
across more and more of the Pacific Northwest. A slight
expansion of D0/D1 also comes to the Idaho Panhandle given low
streamflow levels and lack of rains during the past few weeks
coupled with well below normal precipitation on the year (50-70%
of normal). Severe drought (D2) has also expanded to cover a
larger portion of southeastern Oregon into the Klamath region,
along with a push westward of D1 in southern Oregon over to the
coast.

California also saw an increase in D2 this week across the
northern tier of the state. Extremely low streamflow levels and
record, or near-record, dryness on the year have elevated short-
and long-term concerns with regard to soil moisture, fire
potential and distressed native ecosystems not privy to
irrigation. Statewide water supply conditions are in pretty good
shape for most of California, which should provide a sufficient
buffer for irrigators and municipalities this year, but as those
supplies are drawn down, there will be little to fill in behind
because of the disappointing winter and woeful year-to-date
precipitation. The exception to this is the San Joaquin Valley,
where irrigation allocations to farmers will be cut
significantly.

Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: The Big Island sees a slip
backward in conditions for some areas as the dry season sets in.
The leeward side along the North Kohala District lacked the
necessary April and May rains, so they slide back into severe
(D2) drought. In addition, a pocket of D3 has reemerged in the
Pohakuloa area, which was left vulnerable after being in D3 up
until just a few weeks ago. The dry weather, coupled with strong
winds, has led to a relapse of conditions in these areas, noted
by deterioration of soil moisture and vegetation conditions. The
rest of the Big Island and the state remain unchanged from last
week.

Alaska and Puerto Rico remained unchanged this week as well.

Looking Ahead: The NWS WPC 5-Day (June 19-24) Quantitative
Precipitation Forecast (QPF) is showing good prospects for a
nice shot of unseasonably cooler weather across the Pacific
Northwest, California and Nevada. The opposite holds true,
though, for the southern Rockies region, central Plains, Midwest
and Northeast, where readings could soar well above normal. The
precipitation outlook during this period shows the best bet for
significant totals to fall in the Pacific Northwest, northern
Plains, upper Midwest, Gulf Coast and up along the southern
Atlantic coast into South Carolina.

The 6-10 day (June 25-29) outlooks are calling for a real
summertime pattern to emerge, with the odds well tilted toward
above-normal temperatures across southern California, the
Intermountain West, northern Rockies, central and northern
Plains, the Midwest and the Northeast. Alaska looks likely to
continue with its recent spate of above-normal temperatures as
well. The only areas seeing a greater likelihood of cooler
weather are the Pacific Northwest coastal ranges and the western
Gulf Coast region. Prospects for rain seem to be best in the
Pacific Northwest, upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Below-normal precipitation is most likely in the Intermountain
West, Wyoming and the central Plains. Alaska also looks likely
to couple the heat with dryness during this same period as well.

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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