Drought - October 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 10 percent of the contiguous United States as of the end of October 2006, a decrease of about 4 percent compared to last month. By contrast, about 12 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories.
  • About 22 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the moderate to extreme drought categories (based on the Palmer Drought Index) at the end of October.
  • 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 October, drought was concentrated in the Dakotas, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma and in northeastern Minnesota. Conditions had improved in the Southeast from eastern Texas through Mississippi (October 31 Drought Monitor). In the drought areas, soil moisture was low, evaporation was high, vegetative health was fair to poor, and streamflow was low.

Map showing Palmer Z Index

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that federal disaster loans were available to small, non-farm, agriculture-dependent businesses located in 204 Texas counties. These disaster loans are intended to offset economic losses because of reduced revenue to farmers and ranchers caused by severe drought conditions, above normal temperatures and wildfires. The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 12 Texas counties agricultural disaster areas, due to losses sustained from continuing drought conditions. In South Dakota the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has shortened this year's barge navigation season along portions of the Missouri River by 44 days because of sustained drought conditions and associated low water flows. All counties in Wyoming and most in Missouri have been designated primary or contiguous natural disaster areas thereby allowing farmers and ranchers to apply for low interest loans from the Farm Service Agency. Impacts in drought-stricken areas have been collected and summarized by county at the National Drought Mitigation Center's Drought Impact Reporter.

The October precipitation pattern at the primary stations in Alaska was above average across the interior of the state; most of the coastal stations were below average. In Hawaii dryness continued throughout most the western half of the State. Except for the northwestern coast, Puerto Rico was predominantly dry (based on National Weather Service radar estimates of precipitation).

Map showing October State Precipitation Ranks

Some regional highlights:
  • Throughout the U.S., the month was wetter than in previous months, but some states experienced the tenth percentile of precipitation, or drier, multi-month seasons (August-October, May-October, November-October).
  • Month-averaged and end-of-month soil moisture conditions, based on model computations (CPC-1, CPC-2, MRCC), were drier than average across the Plains, along the northwestern coast and in Florida.
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 October 2006 Paleoclimatic Perspective

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Drought for October 2006, published online November 2006, retrieved on January 20, 2018 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/200610.