Washington, DC  20018      9/3/2014
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Monsoon Helps Ease Southwest Drought
August 29, 2014
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill
The active summer monsoon allowing for repeated rain and thunderstorms has allowed short-term gains to chip away at the ongoing drought in the Southwest. Meanwhile, hot and dry weather is to blame for expanding drought conditions across the Southern Plains.

Recent rain and thunderstorm activity has improved drought in Arizona, specifically central, southern and western areas and across the Upper Colorado River Basin. The same can be said in California`s Mojave Desert where the severe drought has been chipped away a bit.

Meanwhile, a consistent hot and dry weather pattern in the Southern Plains allowed severe and extreme drought to encompass northeastern and southwestern Oklahoma and parts of Texas away from the Panhandle. As a matter of fact, the Rio Grande Planning Region reservoirs in Texas are only 22.1% full.

The Southeast`s rain has been quite isolated in the last few weeks this summer. The developing pattern has allowed moderate and severe drought to expand through Alabama and Georgia. Low soil moisture has contributed to agricultural problems in southwestern Georgia.

Much farther north, a cool and damp pattern allowed the moderate drought in the Dakotas and Nebraska to get removed. The southeastern portion of Nebraska is the exception to the rule; dry weather has impacted the corn and soybean crops here and allowed a small expansion of moderate drought.

Heavy rain allowed the few pockets of dryness in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and Ohio to get much needed relief. Meanwhile, recent precipitation deficits mounting in southwestern Missouri allowed moderate drought to expand across this region.

In the East, a recent stretch of soggy weather helped take away the dry spell in North Carolina`s Piedmont. The Catskills and Hudson Valley weren`t so lucky; recent dry weather has allowed mounting rain deficits to create a pocket of below-average rain here.

The next two weeks will bring likely bring more rain to the fertile Northern Plains, Upper Midwest and East. Although a few short-term gains have been made in the West, a dry pattern will likely unfold to close out August and begin September. Therefore, drought could expand a bit in coverage west of the Rockies.

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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor
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