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Major drought improvement in Great Plains and Mississippi Valley

The Midwest and High Plains are mostly recovering well, with only minor exceptions.

Clouds Over Wheat Feild Pixabay

The U.S. Drought Monitor, a collaboration between the National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA, and NOAA, released its latest report on June 6, 2024, highlighting significant drought changes across the country.

Following a stormy spring with heavy precipitation, the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley saw major drought improvements. Recent rainfall from May 28 to June 3 further alleviated drought conditions in these areas. However, the southern half of the Florida Peninsula experienced drought expansion and intensification due to a dry start to the thunderstorm season and above-normal temperatures.

In the Northeast, abnormal dryness expanded in Maine, with moderate drought introduced in northern parts of the state due to significant precipitation deficits. The Southeast remains mostly drought-free except for the southern half of Florida, where severe drought conditions worsened around Tampa Bay and the Atlantic coast of south-central Florida.

The South region saw heavy rainfall leading to drought improvements in northwestern Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and south-central Texas. However, southern Texas and the middle Rio Grande Valley faced worsening drought due to high temperatures and drying soil.

The Midwest benefitted from a very wet spring, rendering nearly all areas drought-free. Small exceptions remain in northwestern Illinois and northern Missouri, where precipitation deficits are increasing. In the High Plains, heavy precipitation led to improvements in Kansas, eastern Colorado, and southeastern Nebraska, though some areas in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming saw drought expansion.

The West saw little change in drought conditions typical of the season, but northeastern New Mexico and parts of Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana experienced improvements due to recent rainfall. Hawaii continues to face drought in Maui and the Big Island, while Alaska and Puerto Rico remain drought-free.

The Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands stayed drought-free. In the Pacific, southern Southeastern Alaska and some areas in Hawaii saw slight improvements, while parts of the Marshall Islands and Micronesia continued to experience varying drought conditions.

Looking ahead, the next five days are expected to bring heavy rainfall to the Northeast, Tennessee Valley, and Ozarks region. Dry weather will prevail in the Southwest, California, and the Pacific Northwest. A heat wave is forecast for the Southwest and Central Valley of California. The 6-10 day outlook predicts above-normal temperatures for most of the West, Great Plains, New England, and Florida, with below-normal temperatures in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Precipitation is expected to be below-normal in much of the Corn Belt and Pacific Northwest, while the central to southern Rockies and coastal Southeast are likely to see above-normal precipitation.

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