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U.S. Drought Monitor Update for September 25, 2012

September 25 U.S. Drought Monitor Map

According to the September 25, 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 65.6% of the contiguous United States. This is up from 64.8% last week. Exceptional drought rose to 6.1%. According to the weekly Palmer Drought Severity Index, a single index that has a long history, moderate to extreme drought conditions covered 54.0% of the United States on September 22, 2012.

A series of upper-air troughs and accompanying strong cold fronts moved across the eastern half of the contiguous United States during the past week. The East Coast states, and both the Great Lakes region and Ohio Valley, received beneficial rainfall with the passage of these cold fronts. The West was mostly warm and dry, and the monsoonal showers and thunderstorms that occurred two to three weeks ago over the Southwest ended this past week. Temperatures in the eastern half of the country ranged from 4-12 degrees below normal, with the core of the coolest air centered over the central Corn Belt.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agriculture Outlook Board estimates that 84% of the corn grown in the U.S. is experiencing drought as of September 25. Similarly, 80% of soybeans, 69% of hay, and 76% of cattle are also experiencing drought. This has resulted in a reduction in corn and soybean production since July. The U.S. Drought Impact Reporter also keeps track of U.S. drought impacts.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Drought Outlook issued last week points to drought conditions lingering or intensifying over most of the United States. Exceptions include the Southwest and Southeast, where the Outlook suggests limited improvement.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is a partnership between NOAA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center and represents an assessment of drought conditions drawn from hundreds of indicators and peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

To view the full U.S. Drought Monitor weekly update, visit