Drought Monitor Weekly: Mostly Dry Outside Southeast, Northwest

    Corn leaf rolling due to moisture stress. Photo: Rebecca Vittetoe, Iowa State University


    This week, dry conditions were common across parts of the central and southern Great Plains, as well as parts of the northern Great Plains, particularly in North Dakota. Dry conditions were also common in much of the Intermountain West.

    However, above-normal rainfall occurred in eastern Washington, as part of an unusual severe thunderstorm event in Washington and Oregon on Saturday.

    Near or slightly below normal temperatures were found across much of the central and south-central continental United States, while warmer than normal temperatures (with some locations reaching between 5 and 15 degrees above normal) were common in the western High Plains and the West.

    Meanwhile, dry conditions also occurred along the northeastern Atlantic Coast. Above-normal rainfall fell in south Texas, central and south Florida, and parts of South Carolina and North Carolina. Moderate, severe, and extreme drought expanded in parts of the southern and central plains where high evaporative demand and paltry precipitation continued.

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    Elsewhere, drought conditions also spread or lessened in parts of the West, where recent precipitation or lack thereof either improved conditions or caused conditions to dry out further. Minor changes in moderate drought were also made east of the Great Plains; for more details on these, please see the regional paragraphs.


    Well above normal rainfall occurred this week in central and south Florida, which led to further improvements in drought and abnormal dryness in Florida and Alabama, including a complete removal of moderate drought and abnormal dryness from south Florida.

    Well above normal rain also fell in eastern South Carolina and much of central and southeast North Carolina. Elsewhere in the Southeast, above- and below-normal rainfall were somewhat spotty, likely due to the scattered nature of thunderstorms over the past week.

    Relatively moderate temperatures occurred this week in the Southeast, with most areas falling within 5 degrees of normal over the course of the week.


    Conditions in the South this week varied widely from east to west, leading to primarily improving or unchanged conditions in the eastern part of the region, and degrading conditions in the west. Like the Southeast, most of the South had temperatures this week between 5 degrees above and below normal; however, notable exceptions on the warm end of this occurred in parts of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

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    Scattered areas of above- and below-normal rainfall dotted the region generally to the east of Interstate 35. Moderate drought slightly increased in coverage in a small area of southern Mississippi, where paltry rainfall occurred this week.

    Improvement in drought and abnormal dryness areas was common in south Texas and along the Texas Gulf Coast, where rainfall this week was mostly above normal. Areas of moderate and severe long-term drought slightly shifted along the Rio Grande, while otherwise degradation was quite common in West Texas and the Texas Panhandle.

    Extreme drought developed in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and adjacent areas of the southern and central high plains, where conditions had become extremely dry in the short-term as a result of low precipitation and high evaporative demand. Severe drought was also introduced in a small area northwest of Oklahoma City, where short-term precipitation deficits had worsened.


    Warmer than normal temperatures occurred in most of the Upper Midwest this week. In Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, northern Illinois, and Michigan, temperatures between 4 and 10 degrees warmer than normal were common. The rest of the region saw variable, but generally closer-to-normal temperatures.

    A dichotomy developed this week between very dry short-term conditions in central and western Minnesota and wet conditions in southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and Wisconsin. Abnormal dryness abated in northeast Iowa and adjacent parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, where large rainfall amounts had lessened precipitation deficits.

    Meanwhile, moderate drought developed in north-central Minnesota and in west-central Minnesota. In both of these areas, short-term precipitation deficits have been building up over the past several weeks. Otherwise, some short-term dryness has started to appear in parts of southern Illinois and western Kentucky, but this has not yet developed into abnormal dryness.

    High Plains

    Warm and dry weather encapsulates the conditions across most of the High Plains this week, particularly in the western part of the region. Temperatures in the eastern part of the region were generally moderate, but temperatures from 3 to 12 degrees above normal were common in western Kansas, western Nebraska, and in eastern Colorado and Wyoming.

    Below-normal precipitation occurred in most of South Dakota and North Dakota, and primarily to the west of the U.S. 81 corridor in Kansas and Nebraska.

    Above-normal rainfall fell in parts of eastern Kansas, and a small area of above-normal rainfall also occurred west-northwest of Omaha, reducing the coverage of abnormal dryness in the Bohemian Alps and Platte River Valley areas of eastern Nebraska.

    Abnormal dryness expanded through much of central and eastern Wyoming to parts of northwest Nebraska and the Black Hills and Badlands in southwest South Dakota, due to increasing short-term precipitation deficits and, in Wyoming, high evaporative demand over the past month.

    Moderate drought increased in coverage along and north of the Missouri River in northwest North Dakota, where short-term precipitation deficits continued to build, and surface water shortages were indicated. In southeast Colorado and a small part of adjacent southwest Kansas, extreme drought expanded, as short-term precipitation deficits continued to worsen amid high evaporative demand.


    Warmer than normal temperatures were widespread in the West this week, particularly in the Intermountain West area, where temperatures 9 or more degrees above normal were commonplace. Below-normal precipitation in southwest Colorado and in parts of Utah, Wyoming, and Montana led to degradations in conditions.

    Severe drought increased in coverage in southeast Utah and southwest Colorado, where short- and long-term precipitation deficits continued to build amid high evaporative demand. Short-term precipitation deficits led to an increase in moderate drought coverage in southwest Montana.

    As mentioned in the High Plains paragraph, large evaporative demand and inadequate precipitation led to the development of widespread abnormal dryness across much of central and eastern Wyoming.

    Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation in eastern Washington and parts of north-central Oregon, where a localized severe weather event occurred on Saturday, led to improved conditions as precipitation deficits lessened. Also as a result of recent precipitation, extreme drought coverage lessened in southwest Oregon.


    Warmer than normal temperatures occurred this week in the Northeast, particularly in New England. Temperatures from eastern Massachusetts to the Canadian border were mostly between 4 and 8 degrees warmer than normal. Well below normal precipitation occurred this week along the Atlantic Coast from Maryland north through Maine.

    Spotty areas of near- or above-normal precipitation occurred in parts of northern New York and New England. However, abnormal dryness increased in coverage in northern New York, southern Maine, southern New Hampshire and Vermont, and northeast Massachusetts, as short-term precipitation deficits, warm temperatures, and poor streamflow led to worsening conditions.

    Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

    No changes were made to the U.S. Drought Monitor depiction in Alaska this week.

    In Puerto Rico, abnormal dryness expanded into the San Juan area, and moderate drought expanded across southern portions of the island, where short-term precipitation was low and soil moisture and streamflow had decreased.

    In Hawaii, abnormal dryness was reduced on Kauai, Lanai, Maui, and the Big Island. Moderate drought developed on the southern end of Oahu, and existing moderate and severe drought slightly expanded in coverage. Moderate drought was also introduced on Kahoolawe and in southern reaches of Lanai and Maui. Finally, moderate drought expanded in northeastern portions of the Big Island.

    Looking Ahead

    As of the afternoon of Wednesday, June 3, the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center is forecasting dry weather to continue over the southern Great Plains and the central and southern high plains from June 4 to the evening of June 8.

    Heavy precipitation is possible from the central Gulf Coast eastward into the Florida Peninsula. Through the evening of June 10, heavy precipitation is also possible in the Mississippi River Valley, as well as eastern portions of Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

    Some of the forecast rainfall will likely be dependent on the evolution of Atlantic tropical cyclone Cristobal. Please monitor forecasts from your local National Weather Service office and the NWS Weather Prediction Center for rainfall forecasts and for information on possible hydrological impacts from Cristobal.

    For the latest information on Cristobal, please refer to information and forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.

    The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting increased chances for warmer than normal temperatures in California and across southern New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and the southeast Atlantic and Gulf Coasts for June 9-13.

    Meanwhile, near-normal or below-normal temperatures are forecast over much of the rest of the continental U.S. during this period. Increased chances for above-normal precipitation are forecast in the eastern and central United States as well as in the Pacific Northwest, while increased chances for below-normal precipitation are forecast in the High Plains, Texas, Oklahoma, and the Rocky Mountains.

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