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U.S. Drought Monitor Update for September 4, 2012

U.S. Drought Monitor Map for September 4, 2012

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report released September 4, moderate (D1) to exceptional drought (D4) covers 63.39% of the contiguous United States. This compares to 62.89% the previous week. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a collaboration between NOAA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center and represents an assessment of drought conditions drawn from dozens of indicators and peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

This week saw some notable improvements and some deterioration throughout the United States. Hurricane Isaac made landfall along the northern Gulf Coast and pushed inland to the north/northwest as a very slow-moving subtropical storm system. With the slow-moving nature and direction of movement associated with Isaac, many areas in Louisiana, Arkansas, and the Midwest recorded precipitation that approached 10+ inches, improving their short-term drought conditions. Isaac’s presence also eradicated all abnormal dryness from Florida, and the hurricane attributed to lessening of drought conditions in the Southeast, including areas along the Georgia and South Carolina border and in North Carolina. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic also saw an overall wetter pattern, which helped to ease drought concerns in select areas of the regions as well.

The Plains region continued to miss out on the rains, and the return of temperatures in the 100°F range allowed for further degradation this week.  In Nebraska, the areas in the exceptional drought category expanded to include most of the western half of the state and most of the northeast. Kansas saw exceptional drought expand in the northwest part of the state, Oklahoma saw exceptional drought expand in the panhandle, and Texas had general degradation in the south and panhandle regions. The West saw a mix of improvements and degradation throughout the week. A new area of extreme drought was introduced in central Montana, and much of the southern portions of the state moved into the severe drought category.

Between September 4 and September 9, the Plains and Midwest states are forecast to have temperatures below normal, which may extend into the southeastern United States. Temperatures look to be 3–6°F above normal in the Pacific Northwest and into the Great Basin. A fairly active weather pattern looks to bring a widespread chance of rain over the central Plains through the Midwest and up into New England. The greatest precipitation amounts are expected over the area from Kansas and Oklahoma to western Kentucky, where more than 1.50 inches of rain has been projected.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (September 10-14) has temperatures below normal over the Southeast and west coast as well as for much of western Alaska. Temperatures can be expected to be above normal for much of the central and northern Plains, the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains.  Much of the country should expect below-normal precipitation, with the desert southwest and portions of Florida being the only areas showing above-normal chances of precipitation.

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