Drought - September 2006

Contents Of This Report:
Map showing Palmer Z Index

Top of Page National Overview

  • Based on the Palmer Drought Index, severe to extreme drought affected about 14 percent of the contiguous United States as of the end of September 2006, a decrease of about 5 percent compared to last month. By contrast, about 5 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories.
  • About 29 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the moderate to extreme drought categories (based on the Palmer Drought Index) at the end of September.
  • On a broad scale, the previous two decades (1980s and 1990s) were characterized by unusual wetness with short periods of extensive droughts, whereas the 1930s and 1950s were characterized by prolonged periods of extensive droughts with little wetness (moderate to extreme drought, severe to extreme drought).
  • A file containing the national monthly percent area severely dry and wet from 1900 to present is available for the severe to extreme and moderate to extreme categories.
  • Historical temperature, precipitation, and Palmer drought data from 1895 to present for climate divisions, states, and regions in the contiguous U.S. are available at the Climate Division: Temperature-Precipitation-Drought Data page in files having names that start with "drd964x" and ending with "txt" (without the quotes).

Top of Page Detailed Drought Discussion

By the end of September, drought was concentrated in the northern Plains, Texas and northeastern Minnesota. Conditions had improved in most of the Southeast and in the Southwest (September 26 Drought Monitor). In the primary drought areas, soil moisture was low, evaporation was high, vegetative health was poor, and streamflow was low.

Map showing Palmer Z Index

Drought impacted many sectors of the economy. Crops were highly stressed or dying, livestock was dying or prematurely sold because of a lack of feed and water, and water restrictions were common in many areas. Disaster conditions have been declared by the governors of several states. Texas ended its worst fire season, which began in January 2005, but burning bans continue in 103 counties. In Nebraska, drought is estimated to have cost the agricultural community $350 million. In South Dakota honey production was low, and wheat production was down 37 percent. Low flows in the Missouri River prematurely ended the navigation season, which usually ends around the beginning of December. A positive impact of drought was the improved rice crop in north central and northeastern Minnesota. Impacts in drought-stricken areas have been collected and summarized by county at the National Drought Mitigation Center's Drought Impact Reporter.

The September precipitation pattern at the primary stations in Alaska was below average across the interior of the state; the coastal stations were above average. In Hawaii dryness continued throughout most the State. In Puerto Rico the month was predominantly dry along the southern coast (based on National Weather Service radar estimates of precipitation).

Map showing September State Precipitation Ranks

Some regional highlights:
Western U.S. percentage area wet and dry, 1996-2006

Top of Page State/Regional/National Moisture Status

A detailed review of drought and moisture conditions is available for all contiguous U.S. states, the nine standard regions, and the nation (contiguous U.S.):

Alabama Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut
Delaware Florida Georgia Idaho Illinois Indiana
Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana
Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York
North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania
Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah
Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Northeast Region East North Central Region Central Region
Southeast Region West North Central Region South Region
Southwest Region Northwest Region West Region
Map showing the nine U.S. standard regions
Contiguous U.S.

Top of Page Pre-Instrumental Perspective

There is no September 2006 Paleoclimatic Perspective

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Drought for September 2006, published online October 2006, retrieved on January 19, 2018 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/200609.