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U.S. Drought Eases

Posted by feww on September 26, 2013

Drought conditions improve slightly; near- to above-normal temps to persist nationwide

In the short term, temperatures are expected to rise  10 to 15 degrees above average from the Upper Great Lakes to part of the Middle Mississippi Valley; in contrast, temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average from the Northern/Central High Plains to the Great Basin/Central Rockies, said NWS.

As of September 25, 2013, at least 1,345 counties and parishes, or 42.8% of all the U.S. counties and county equivalents, across 29 states remained agricultural disaster areas due to the drought, said USDA.

us drought map 24sep13
US Drought Map as of September 24, released by US Drought Monitor on September 26, 2013.

The Midwest: “By September 22, topsoil moisture was still rated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at least half very short to short in Iowa (77%), Missouri (69%), Illinois (66%), South Dakota (62%), Nebraska (61%), and Wisconsin (55%).  On the same date, USDA rated at least half of the pastures in very poor to poor condition in Iowa (62%) and Wisconsin (58%).  And, more than one-quarter of the corn and soybeans were rated very poor to poor in Wisconsin (29 and 29%, respectively), Missouri (27 and 33%), and Iowa (27 and 29%).” U.S. Drought Monitor reported.

The Great Plains: “Despite all of the rain, rangeland and pastures across some parts of the Great Plains continued to suffer from the cumulative effects of multiple drought years.  On September 22, rangeland and pastures were rated at least one-third very poor to poor several states, including Texas (54%), Colorado (43%), Nebraska (40%), and Kansas (36%).”

The Lower Mississippi Valley:  “… topsoil moisture was still rated 41% very short to short in Arkansas and Louisiana, although those numbers represented a significant improvement from the previous week’s figures of 78 and 52%, respectively.”

The West: “No changes in the drought depiction were yet introduced in the Northwest, but the region will be monitored as precipitation continues to spread inland.”

Hawaii and Alaska: “From September 1-24, Hilo’s rainfall totaled just 2.17 inches (28% of normal).  Near the southern tip of the Big Island, very poor pasture conditions led to degradation from severe to extreme drought (D2 to D3). […] Fairbanks reported its first autumn freeze (29°F) on September 15, followed 3 days later by its first measurable snowfall (0.6 inch).  Meanwhile, heavy precipitation fell in non-drought areas of southeastern Alaska, where Ketchikan netted 12.22 inches of rain from September 15-23.”

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