Rain Helps Southern Plains, Western Drought
September 21, 2014
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill
Rain helped chip away at the drought in parts of the West and southern Plains this week while mounting precipitation shortages are becoming evident in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The exceptional drought continues across much of California while severe to extreme drought dominates large stretches of the Northwest, Great Basin and Southwest. Fortunately, showers and even a bit of snow last week helped a few spots from Montana to New Mexico.
The good news so far this year is that wildfires have burned 2,935,074 acres in the U.S. compared to an average of 6,560,844 acres for the first nine months of the year, according to The National Interagency Fire Center.
Soggy weather helped the drought in southeastern Texas and Kansas. Houston is 3 inches below average for rain this year but one inch above average for the month thanks to copious rain. The drought is much less severe farther north towards South Dakota where some improvement was seen last week in the abnormally dry area in the central part of the state.
A relatively dry stretch has caused rainfall deficits to climb a bit in the interior Mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England. For instance, Dulles, Va., is 2.40 inches below average on rain for September while Boston is 1.68 inches below average for the month and 3.41 inches behind for the year.
The Midwest continued with its soggy pattern once again. No changes were noted with the few spots that are slightly below average for rainfall. Meanwhile, not much change was seen in the Southeast, except northern Alabama where rain deficits were pushed higher. Soggy weather erased the dryness a bit in southern Alabama while rain helped southern Georgia.
Looking ahead, rainfall from Tropical Storm Odile will help alleviate drought problems a bit in the Southwest and West Texas. Additional showers and thunderstorms will become more numerous in the Mountain West where drought is common across the Wasatch and Southern Rockies. The Northwest will benefit from showers later in the week while the East will stay in a dry pattern.
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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor
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