The U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest report shows that dry weather with temperatures much higher than normal continued throughout the central and southern Great Plains this week.
As of December 28, month-to-date temperatures have averaged more than 7°F. above normal across the south-central U.S., according to this week’s Drought Monitor report.
The upper Mississippi Valley and Eastern North Dakota received another round this week of precipitation (0.25 – 0.75 inch, liquid equivalent). After a period of heavy rainfall in the Ozarks, lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast in mid-December, dry weather returned from December 21 to 27, Little or no precipitation continued through late December across the Mid-Atlantic, according to the report authored by USDA’s Brad Rippey and Brad Pugh, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“Another week of widespread precipitation (more than 0.50 inch, liquid equivalent) along with positive SPI values dating back six months supported a slight decrease in abnormal dryness (D0), moderate drought (D1), and severe drought (D2) across parts of Minnesota. There are still long-term precipitation shortages in parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley, including International Falls. The deficit is 5-inches for 2021, as of December 28. There was a slight improvement in western Wisconsin, which received 0.75 inches of precipitation over the past week. Based on 120-day SPI data, southern Wisconsin saw a slight increase in moderate (D1) and severe (D2) droughts. A slight increase in short-term droughts resulted a slight expansion in abnormal dryness, D0, across Missouri. A small area of severe drought (D2) was added to the west of St. Louis based on short-term SPIs and 28-day streamflows,” Rippey and Pugh stated.
According to the Drought Monitor report, an increase in abnormal dryness (D0), moderate and severe droughts (D1) was required this week across most of Kansas. This was due to worsening soil moisture indicators (90- to 120-days SPIs), declining streamflows and impacts such as cattle sales.
“A 1-category degradation was made to the southwest corner of Nebraska based on soil moisture and SPI values at various time scales. An increase in snowpack has led to an improvement in drought conditions in the central Rockies to the west and the Continental Divide. Due to decreasing soil moisture indicators and EDDI, northeast Colorado was upgraded from Severe (D2) up to Extreme (drought). Precipitation (more than 0.5 inch, liquid equivalent) on December 26 along with positive SPI values dating back six months supported a slight decrease in abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) across central and eastern North Dakota,” Rippey and Pugh say.
“A low pressure system and trailing front are expected to progress eastward from the central to eastern U.S. from January 1 to 2. A swathe of snow could be found on the northwest corner of the surface track, from the Central Plains northeastern to the Midwest or Great Lakes.
“Heavy rain (1 to 3 inches) is forecast to overspread the Tennessee Valley, southern Appalachians, and southern Mid-Atlantic,” according to the Drought Monitor Report.
“Little to no precipitation is expected for the southern Great Plains into the beginning of the New Year,” Rippey and Pugh stated.
The Climate Prediction Center’s six- to 10-day outlook (valid January 4-8, 2022) favors above-normal temperatures across the southern Great Plains, Gulf Coast States, and along the East Coast. According to the Drought Monitoring report, temperatures below normal are very likely in the northern Great Plains.
Source: Successful Farming