|Rain Helps Central U.S. Drought; West Still Dry|
UPDATED May 24, 2013
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill
|A week of active spring stormy weather did wonders to chip away at drought problems in the Central U.S. Meanwhile, the Northeast and Southwest are becoming increasingly dry.|
Following an intense heat episode in the last week, heavy rain significantly reduced the drought intensity and coverage in the Upper Midwest. Minnesota, northern Iowa and northwestern Wisconsin benefited the most from these showers.
A sizable storm system also chipped away at the growing drought in the northern Plains. A constant barrage of showers helped the southeastern Plains, too. The southern High Plains, however, saw an increase in coverage of exceptional drought. Winter wheat rated poor to very poor increased from 44% to 76% from mid-March to mid-May in Texas.
Heavy precipitation alleviated the moderate to extreme drought in northern Utah and eastern Idaho. It was a different story farther south. High pressure kept the Southwest and California dry. Here, at least 40% of the pastures are rated poor to very poor.
Little rain did nothing to help the growing dry concerns across the Northeast. As a result, parts of northern Pennsylvania and New York became a bit more parched. Dryness also expanded in southern Alabama and western Florida. In Dothan, Ala., for instance, rainfall since the start of spring has been 49% of average.
Looking ahead, holiday weekend rain will benefit the Northeast`s growing drought while a fresh Pacific storm rolls into northern California with much needed rain. Showers and storms will be most concentrated north of Interstate 70 in the Mountain West and Central U.S. However, this region could use the rain with moderate to extreme drought from western Iowa into southern Montana and points north.
The hardest hit drought areas of the southern High Plains will stay dry and warm up significantly, adding to drought misery.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor
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