The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday morning revealed small changes, some for the worse and some for the better. Generally Plains states continued in a hot and dry pattern, but small improvements benefited the Midwest and Eastern U.S.
Crop condition reports may be reflecting the Midwest's recent good fortune as USDA soybean condition scores climbed a few percentage points higher this week.
A cold front aided Midwestern farmers this week also, leading to drought category improvements in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. Scattered rains also visited the area, though parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin were not helped. Drought in those areas expanded slightly.
Plains states suffered again this week, with little rain to speak of and temperatures just above normal. Drought expanded in North Dakota and South Dakota, while Kansas, Oklahoma, and parts of the Texas panhandle continued to operate without rain and experienced expanding drought.
In some areas of the West, precipitation is returning to normal. David Simeral of the Western Regional Climate Center reports that late August – early September precipitation in parts of Arizona, Nevada and Utah has accounted for more than 200% of their normal totals.
The West remains torn, however, as parts of Colorado and Wyoming are still fighting the drought. Simeral reports that both states experienced the warmest summer in 118 years, and Wyoming had the driest summer on record.
Elsewhere, the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and southeastern states have received significant rainfall, which has either improved drought conditions or left them unchanged.
In next five days, Simeral says rains are expected to visit Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Colorado, Kansas and Iowa may also see some relief. Below average temperatures are projected in the Midwest and the Plains.
Source: UNL Drought Monitor