Drought Monitor Weekly: Widespread Rains with Some Big Dry Spots

Summary

The far western United States was dry this week while monsoonal thunderstorms were scattered about parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Widespread precipitation fell from northeast Colorado to southwest South Dakota to northeast Minnesota, and in Missouri and southwest Iowa.

Widespread rainfall took place in Florida, southeast Georgia, and North Carolina and Virginia. Meanwhile, dry weather encompassed much of Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, and the central and southern Great Plains.

Generally, below-normal temperatures occurred from the southern Plains to the mid-South to the Southeast, while warmer than normal temperatures were common in the Southwest, particularly in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Southeast

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Widespread moderate to heavy rainfall occurred in southeast Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and parts of South Carolina this week. Meanwhile, conditions were quite dry in Alabama. Temperatures across the region were generally 2 to 6 degrees cooler than normal.

Areas of abnormal dryness expanded in Alabama where short-term precipitation deficits and low streamflow continued, moderate drought in south-central Alabama expanded northward due to short-term precipitation deficits and low streamflow, and moderate drought was also introduced in northeast Alabama due to deteriorating soil moisture and short-term precipitation deficits.

Short-term precipitation shortages and deteriorating soil moisture conditions also led to the introduction and expansion of moderate drought in eastern Georgia and southeast South Carolina, and in east-central South Carolina, where some agricultural impacts were also being reported.

In areas of northeast Florida, southeast Georgia, and northern North Carolina that received heavier rainfall, abnormal dryness ceased.

South

With the exception of the northwest Texas Panhandle and southwest Texas, below-normal temperatures occurred during the last week of July across the South, particularly in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and eastern and central Texas. Widespread moderate to heavy precipitation fell across the southern half of Louisiana and northwest Mississippi.

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Meanwhile, Texas and Oklahoma were quite dry again, continuing a recent drying trend here. In response to the dry weather and growing short-term precipitation deficits and associated surface water and soil moisture concerns, widespread degradations occurred in Texas and Oklahoma.

Moderate drought was introduced from the southern Texas Panhandle into southwest Oklahoma and in west Texas. Short-term moderate drought expanded northward through parts of southern Texas. In response to recent rainfall, a small area of severe drought was reduced in southern Texas.

Elsewhere across the South, no changes were made in this week’s map.

Midwest

Widespread rainfall occurred in Minnesota, Wisconsin, southwest Iowa, and Missouri, while rain coverage was more spotty elsewhere in the region. Temperatures varied from below normal in the southern and western parts of the region, across Kentucky, Missouri, and western Iowa, to above normal in Michigan, Wisconsin, and surrounding areas.

The region remained free of drought, though several areas of abnormal dryness grew in coverage in response to short-term precipitation deficits and reported agricultural impacts. These increases in abnormal dryness occurred in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

High Plains

During the past week, rain fell in a band roughly from northeast Colorado through the Nebraska Panhandle and across central and southeast South Dakota. Otherwise, dry weather prevailed in the High Plains during the last week of July.

Temperatures were warmer than normal in the Colorado high plains, southeast Wyoming, and northeast North Dakota, while cooler than normal temperatures occurred in southwest North Dakota, western South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, and southeast and south-central Kansas. Warmer than normal temperatures in northern North Dakota were putting stress on soil moisture conditions, resulting in a slight expansion of short-term moderate drought to the southeast.

Otherwise, the region remained free of drought. Abnormal dryness developed in parts of central Kansas and northeast Nebraska, where short-term precipitation deficits were developing.

West

During the last week of July, above-normal temperatures were widespread in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado. Below-normal temperatures occurred in eastern Montana and eastern Washington.

Precipitation was widespread in New Mexico, but was generally spotty or nonexistent elsewhere. No changes were made to the ongoing drought areas across the West, though an area of abnormal dryness was introduced in northwest Colorado, southwest Wyoming, and far northeast Utah, where short-term precipitation deficits combined with above-normal evaporative demand over the past few months.

Northeast

Near normal to slightly warmer than normal temperatures occurred in the Northeast during the last week of July. While precipitation was somewhat sparse this week, recent precipitation the week before was sufficient to keep any abnormal dryness or drought development at bay, and the Northeast remained free of both.

Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

Drier than normal weather occurred during July in Alaska, and no changes were made to the drought depiction there. Primarily, improvements were made in northern and eastern parts of Puerto Rico, which received widespread rainfall this week. Severe and moderate drought conditions continued in south-central and southwest Puerto Rico. No changes were made this week in Hawaii.

Looking Ahead

Temperatures will be variable across much of the country next week, but generally, expect warmer than normal temperatures in the Intermountain West, near to below normal temperatures in the south-central United States, and variable conditions elsewhere. Over the next week, the NWS forecast calls for scattered rain to continue over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, and for heavier rain from eastern Nebraska southward to Louisiana. Rain is also forecast for much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region.


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