by Sean Morris
NOAA released an updated report on the historical U.S. drought Thursday showing the drought intensifying across areas of the Midwest, Great Plains and the South during the past week.
In the Midwest, moderate to severe drought conditions crept into southeastern Indiana while drought conditions also intensified in Iowa and Illinois. Hot and dry conditions prevailed across Missouri and Arkansas worsening the drought there as well. Mandatory water restrictions continue to increase across the area. For the most part, agricultural season has passed across the region, so any additional rainfall will not help this year’s crops. As we go into the fall months, the focus will turn toward water conservation for next year’s crops and herds.
The Midwest was not the only region to see drought conditions intensify over the past week. Across the Great Plains and South hot and dry conditions led to worsening drought conditions. Drier conditions were reported in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The dry conditions and hot weather also fueled several wildfires across Oklahoma this past week. Water emergencies and shortages were reported in east-central Kansas and extreme west-central Missouri.
The forecast for this week is for hot and dry conditions to shift into the Desert Southwest and the Inter-Mountain West. Cooler and wetter conditions will bring some relief to areas east of the Rockies. Welcome rain is in the forecast for the Midwest, Northeast, Great Lakes, Georgia and the Carolinas. A taste of fall is on tap as cooler air moves out of Canada into the lower 48 bringing welcome relief from the heat in the northern Great Plains and the Midwest.